Live Review: Black Bear Plays Black Bear

7 August 2012 | 10:11 am | Bradley Armstrong

In this second part of Black Bear Lodge's first birthday celebrations, it's the staff from the venue that are taking to the stage, emerging from their usual spots in the office or behind the bar. An interesting soundcheck misleads the crowd as Black Bear owner Corinna Scanlon takes to the stage. Haunting and beautiful are the words on everyones lips, as Scanlon delivers delicate acoustic guitar coupled with her soaring voice, to dead silence, an awe resonating throughout the venue. She touches on solo material with the odd Bill Callahan cover thrown in and at the conclusion receives thunderous applause.

Following her bittersweet performance at the closure of The Troubadour, tonight sees Texas Tea's Kate Jacobson deliver a much more positive set; from the childlike melody of The Alphabet Song to odes to the staff, it's an essential part of this celebration.

With a full band behind him, Timothy Carroll has everyone off their feet as he delves into what feels like a live mixtape to the venue come to life. His band goes from straight-up blue-based rock to psychedelic touches and even emits vibes of Mogwai-like post-rock. The band never miss a beat and the whole set comes off as simply perfect and inescapable. 

It's the bar's turn to strut their stuff as Velociraptor frontman Jeremy Neale plays with his Teen Sensations project. The band clearly have drawn a good crowd with the venue bursting as the group deliver a set of Beach Boys vibes via a dirty garage. Neale has clearly honed his craft and leads the group even when he's not at the mic. It's an interesting incarnation of the saga that will no doubt re-appear in the future.

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Even with their drummer overseas and their synth player ill, there's simply no stopping the power that is Dreamtime, beginning with a series of percussion-based loops segueing to tribal chanting which then paves the way for the crushing guitar and vocal work of Zac Anderson. There are no faults in their set and the environment sucks you into the fog-based land the band inhabit. From tempo changes to free-form jams it's hard to ignore the level of musicianship and talent from this local psychedelic mainstay.

Being a Sunday night and with the gig joyfully running a little later than planned, the crowd is somewhat sparse for Outerwaves, who are rounding out the night. Still the stayers enjoy it and his electronica gets the people movin'. Goods Inwards and a cover of Len's Steal My Sunshine all go down well as Dom Stephens takes things casually, having a good time.

Black Bear Lodge clearly know how to throw a party and just about every aspect of this revitalised institution has been covered in tonight's celebration. From the loud to the delicate, here's hoping for another year of great music at the Lodge.