When a band sell out the last three shows in your city you expect them to move to a much bigger venue but not H&B. No, to reward fans on their mailing list they decided to do an intimate show to showcase some of their new songs from the much anticipated new album and a new guitarist.
The Glad Cafe was a brand new venue for me but it definitely rose to the intimate title given for the tour. Just 10 minutes outside Glasgow in a trendy vegan restaurant with an adjacent and very small hall it was a perfect location for this show. Having been a bit late to the H&B party I have only caught them three times(all within a year timeframe) but I instantly fell in love with the music.
With the shows I have seen all been sell outs or at the TRNSMT festival in Glasgow I have never managed to catch a moment with the band but as they played a 14 song set list they had plenty of time to hang around afterwards and thank the fans in person. It was this part that has endeared the band even more to me as they were so down to earth, very accommodating and just lovely guys.
Enough about the pleasantries, I am sure that the fans who did not manage to get a ticket to these shows want to know how the show went. I will start with the negatives as they were few and far between. The sound was not the best but as this is basically a pub It was to be expected. I also have to say as a photographer the lights were hellish to work with…c’mon, we all want good shots of these pretty boys.
The last time I saw the band it was the last show of the last tour and they were just heading to the studio and now they are just desperate to get those songs out there and with what I heard tonight there will not be one disappointed H&B fan. The bands sound rolls through each and every song and openers “We Can’t Be Friends” and “Ugly” were evidence of a band that is still growing and pushing themselves. There are moments of unadulterated pop which is then quashed by that rock sound that the band do so well.
The new songs sound epic in such a small venue, they sound as if they were made for arenas and I can tell you now before long they will be played in those venues.
After the crowd gave the new songs a huge thumbs up they slipped into the incredible “Paper Heart” and you feel as though this was a just in case thought by the band in case of a quiet reaction to the new stuff but either way to see this song and the band playing it so close up was electrifying. I am not stupid, I have been attending gigs for 39 years now and I know when I witness a band that are going to break the music business wide open, it was for this reason I stood there with a huge smile on my face and the thought I was here on my mind.
After hitting us with one of their biggest tunes the band slip straight into some more new tracks. “Teeth” and “Dirty Love” are up next with a little smattering of “Skin Tight” after which the band stop and introduce new boy John Caddick and to really put the pressure on him they also do a Q & A for him which turns out to basically be a love in for everyone in the band but we did get to know a fact that he probably wished he had lied about when he was put on the spot and admitted before being approached for the job he had not heard of H&B…and a huge well done for having the balls to answer truthfully.
It is at this part of the show I take in how much fun they are all having, Gareth on drums has to be about the happiest drummer I have ever seen on stage but everyone just looks happy to be out of
that studio and in front of friends, doing what they love. This band look so happy together and they are just having the time of their lives…the essence of what making music should be. There is no need to make things hard, play the music you love and it will come across to everyone else.
Next we get another new song in “Star Girl” which had a rather strange background. Will Irvine told us it was written about a programme he had seen about a porn stars boyfriend and how he deals with her profession so this one is packed full(oh dear, you have no idea how many double entendre’s I had to leave out of this review).
The tail end of the show was built as a climax(woops, done it again) with all our favourite songs. “Hologram”, “Chemical”, Charlotte Street” and set closer “Electric”. This show was excellent, it was personal, it was fun and it was a picture in time of a band who are just on the brink of stardom. Hopefully the new album will break them the way they should be. I challenge anyone to go to a live show and not enjoy it, to not tell everyone they know what they had witnessed.
Hunter & The Bear in one short year have become one of my favourite bands, especially live and I am so glad I made it to this show tonight as I suspect neither myself or anyone else will see the band in such small surroundings again.
A little rumour is that the album tour is all but booked. There were no dates but we did find out that it will be SWG3 they will be playing in Glasgow. I was a bit disappointed at this as I closed my last review saying they need to go to The Barrowland next but I know they will play there and I know they will sell it out on their way to the Hydro…it is just a matter of time.
Images and words Ritchie Birnie for Jace media and metalplanetmusic