Last night at the Beachland, was one of the most enjoyable shows I’ve been to in a while. Bears came out of hibernation and played their first show in over a year. In both the ballroom and tavern, amazing Cleveland bands were everywhere. All of my friends came out to this, and we listened, danced, and smiled to the great music all around us. I’ve never written a review for a show, but this one was too good to not say something.
The Modern Electric – I went with my girlfriend, and we were both hugely excited to see the Modern Electric. Their unbelievable self-titled debut this year has created a big buzz around them, and they did not disappoint on stage. The most noticeable thing on stage was their David Bowie life-sized cutout, so it was only appropriate that they started their set with “David Bowie (Save Us All)”. Frontman Garrett Komyati sang was a beautiful vibrato, played weaving pianos lines, and moved around quite a lot with an acoustic. Their set went quite quickly, with highlights including “Love & Misery” and “Mistakes”. But perhaps the greatest moment of their set was their last song, a Christmas song written a few days before the show. As Komyati stated, “A North Coast Christmas” is a song about Christmas, but is just as much a song about Cleveland! He prepped everyone for a sing-along chorus which if I remember right went, “Raise your beers, its a Christmas on the north coast / Raise your voice, its a carol that you know.” It was almost too happy to be real.
Unsparing Sea – Unsparing Sea was just more goodness that could come out of this show. After getting their latest album, In The Diamond Caverns, I was ready to watch their beautiful folk-rock be transferred to the stage. We all did find out some sad news though, that this was most likely Unsparing Sea’s last show. Lead singer J.R. Bennett announced that he would be moving to Nashville. I found out from some friends that he had lost his job some months ago, and needed to make a change for his family. Pretty sad how the economy can hit us all. But nonetheless, Unsparing Sea didn’t mope and sulk around. They came out strong and played a stellar set with “Wolves At A Wedding” and “Sing Devil Sing”.
Mystery of Two – After interviewing Ryan Weitzel of M2 for my radio show, I was very very very antsy to see them play. When I walked into the tavern, the stage was filled with white cotton fuzz everywhere. We later found out that they had shot a music video with it a week before, and thought it was would make a good decoration! As I recall, they opened their set with “Swimming” , giving everyone a minor taste of what was to come. After a couple other songs, they ran straight through “Gravity”, “Repeat It”, and “French Rocking House”. The highlight of their set was most definitely “Strange Town”. When I say they got heavy and loud, they got real fucking heavy and loud. Their breakdown at the end was filled with frantic guitar and drums, and perfectly loud distorted bass. They still had some songs left, but I got word that Bears was starting, so I skipped out on the rest of Mystery of Two to catch all of Bears!
Bears – Before I say anything about their show, Charlie and Craig from Bears are some really good friends of mine. When I was in a band playing shows around Cleveland, we would play shows with them all the time. When Charlie moved to Chicago, Bears future was quite uncertain and they played very little shows. When they announced that the original lineup would be playing the entire first album, this was a BIG deal, an unmissable event. I walked in halfway through “Who Knows”, then they played a few original Christmas songs from their new Snowman 7″ (which I will get around to posting soon). Their 7″, which was mostly supposed to be for this show, had some unexpected problems at the pressing plant and they wouldn’t get it till a few days after the show. It was a bummer, but they were still giving download codes and would mail them out to people. The Christmas songs were perfect beginning songs, then Bears began playing their first album in its entirety. Hearing “Never Have To Guess”, “Walk Away”, and “How To Live” put the biggest smile on my face and had about everyone in the room bopping their heads. For their last song, “Stay”, they brought on members of Unsparing Sea and Afternoon Naps to play percussion and sing back-up. Charlie took his usually spot at a single tom drum, playing straight sixteenth notes. They cut out in the middle, and all hummed the melody in perfect harmony, to which the crowd even picked up. When they finished, they all walked off with big smiles on their faces. Bears did one big thing last night, they reaffirmed that they are still one of Cleveland’s best pop bands. No matter how long they don’t play shows, or release albums, or change members, Bears will still always have a certain magic around them that makes them the true charm of Cleveland.