By Clarisse Randolph | April 23rd, 2012
The first of back-to-back sold out shows at Schubas Tavern, Bear in Heaven completely rocked it Wednesday night, transcending the crowd from the drizzly weather outside to a synth/pop/rock fantasyland. It was near impossible to believe the burning sound that enveloped the venue was created by only a trio of incredibly talented Brooklynites.
Vocalist/guitarist/keyboardist Jon Philpot’s affable personality seemed to quickly warm up the crowd, and as their set progressed, a flame of pure ecstasy combusted. Adam Will’s bass (and his sweet stache) sparked the fire and engulfed the air with a bass line that surged through your veins while the drumming of Joe Stickney became your heartbeat.
Starting off the set with tracks from their latest album I Love You, It’s Cool, the crowd seemed somewhat distant at first. But, in my opinion at least, once they went into their second song “Sinful Nature” (my favorite from the album), the chemistry between them and their love of the music became so visible that vibrant that you couldn’t help but feed off of it and become lost their fiery passion. “Surrender your will, surrender yourself…” and it was inevitable; Philpot’s voice captivated and hypnotized the audience, generating an inescapable trance of pure astoundment and had the crowd gladly submitting themselves to the music.
By the time they got into “The Reflection of You,” everything seemed to be in sync — the band and the fans became one as Philpot repeated “So dance with me, dance with me” and proceeded to come down off the stage and groove with the crowd. Soon after, they went into their first old song “Lovesick Teenagers,” which sent the whole crowd to a new level of euphoria. Personally it was the song that got me hooked on the band in the first place, so I may have a biased opinion, but it couldn’t have been better. When the synths started and the sticks hit the drum, it seemed a realization hit the sea of swaying bodies all at once — as if this is the one we had all been waiting for.
Not to say they didn’t excel in their other tracks. “World of Freakout” and “Warm Water” made you feel as if you had been exported to some bubblegum utopia… floating through a world of flashing colors with a warm sensation that only lifted you higher and higher.
No doubt the most impressive part of the concert though was how they completely outdid their recordings. The synths were toned down and their brilliance was finally exposed. Philpot’s voice, Will’s pulsing bass, and Stickney’s drumming as the foundation of it all were unleashed to their full potential. It resulted in something so magical that it would be impossible to capture it any way, you just gotta live it.