[This review was first published on the Brighton and Hove Independent website on August 13, 2018. The original story can be read here: brightonandhoveindependent.co.uk/news/high-energy-entertainment-from-eliza-and-the-bear-at-komedia-1-8599580.]
Komedia played host to London-based outfit Eliza and the Bear on Saturday, who brought indie-pop, high energy fun to the venue’s studio room.
Indie-rock band Glass Peaks opened the show, followed by Lauran Hibberd (so-spelled because her dad, she tells the audience, got the name wrong on the birth certificate). This Isle of Wight native bounces in tube socks and sneakers to her pop-rock sounds, vocals swooping from soft to near-riot grrrl high-pitched squeal. It’s genuinely good fun, energetic with sometimes sarky lyrics – music that my friends and I, in our teens during the later naughties, would have played for each other on our MP3 players. Her tracks Call Shotgun and Hunny Is This What Adults Do? are great. One to watch.
Feeding off each other’s energy (and, occasionally, flipping each other the bird) the four members of Eliza and the Bear look like they’re having a riot on stage. It’s infectious, and those of us in Komedia’s small studio space cram in closer to the stage to bounce and clap along with the music.
The band are touring to showcase their new album, Group Therapy, which is set to be released October 5 through Be-Known Music. It’s their second full-length album and promises a ‘fresh new sound’ following their parting with label Universal – the title references the band’s journey, learning to talk about problems and encouraging others to refuse to suffer in silence.
A serious theme for such upbeat, jubilant music: many of the songs played at Komedia – upbeat pop track Hell and groove-inspired dance song Higher in particular – seem purposely designed to get everyone in the audience moving. Other, more gentle songs, such as anthem Friends or indie tune Where Have You Been, are more likely to instigate a gentle bob as opposed to a full-out boogie, but still unites the audience, who sing and clap along. The band’s newer stuff sounds promising – I’m looking forward to hearing more.
Eliza and the Bear maintains its high level of energy throughout their set. They bring a real sense of play to the stage, whether they’re teasing the audience with the opening to a Fall Out Boy song or throwing back to a metal version of Hall of the Mountain King, a remnant of one band member’s prior musical incarnation.
Great fun. A top evening of music and movement.
Eliza and the Bear are touring through to September. For dates and venues, visit the website at elizaandthebear.com.