Live Review: Boy & Bear, Art Of Sleeping, Montaigne

25 January 2016 | 12:40 pm | Catherine Delpero

"These guys have come a long way since they first played the small stage at the Falls Festival a few years ago."

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Kicking off the Limit Of Love tour in Hobart on a Friday night was an interesting choice for Boy & Bear. All three bands on the tour seemed a little apprehensive of the Tassie crowd, not really knowing what to expect. Hopefully they weren't disappointed. The Odeon is a small, theatre-style venue with a dress circle balcony that somehow gives half the crowd more of an 'observer' status rather than 'participant' for the evening. The Odeon also has a habit of early set times, perhaps due to a licensing agreement — perhaps they just like their beauty sleep. Either way it makes for a weird vibe, particularly for the support acts.

Montaigne decided it was easier just to let loose rather than try and ease the crowd into the music. The young Sydney-sider has one of those voices that makes you spontaneously utter, "Wow that is an awesome voice," before you even know what has just happened. Fitting somewhere between Bjork and Regina Spektor, but minus the amazing band to go with it, this girl is all that and a bag of chips. Her band just needs to step up to the plate.

Art Of Sleeping, to the untrained ear, sound a little like Boy & Bear's side project. They have written some really interesting stuff, from Springsteen-esque classic rock to gutsy folk with grunt — they just need to figure out what is working and stick to it. Above The Water was a popular favourite with the crowd, and perhaps the Augie March vibe is where they should think about hanging their hats.

When Boy & Bear took to the stage it was transformed into infinity mirrors in the back, a cloth draped over the keyboard (it looked very high school performance) and the drummer was brought up to the front of the stage with his very bling kit. Somehow it all worked and the crowd lapped up their polished and beautiful sound. These guys have come a long way since they first played the small stage at the Falls Festival a few years ago. For most Tasmanians, that would have been their last memory of them.

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It was clear that the crowd weren't too sold on some of the slower, almost country-style tracks from the new album. Hits from Moonfire and Harlequin Dream were clear standouts and the seamless transition from Lordy May into Rabbit Song was stunning. While their songwriting style may have shifted slightly, they put on a show that satisfied longtime fans and newcomers to their music alike. The tour is sure to solidify Boy & Bear as a band with longevity and endless talent. However, an old lyric from Regurgitator unfortunately springs to mind. Something about old and new stuff?