Bear in Heaven

SXSW showcase reviews

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Photo by Mary Sledd

Bear in Heaven

Maggie Mae's Gibson Room, Wednesday, March 12

Like underwater bubbles blasting to the surface, Brooklyn, New York, fourpiece Bear in Heaven descended from the mount. Leader of the pack Jon Philpot eased us into a rhythmic groove, his reverb-drenched voice floating atop a myriad of knobs and cables. By the time Red Bloom of the Bloom opener "Bag of Bags" kicked in, he was balls-out screaming, no care for pitch or volume. This was all about power. Buoyed by Joe Stickney's incredible display of drums, Bear in Heaven whipped itself into an aural frenzy. You get the feeling that Philpot spent his childhood with fingers in ears, screaming "La la la la la la!" to frustrated parents. He's a wonder to watch, standing eerily still and staring at the crowd, crouching down, and hollering up at the mic; it's no wonder his name is attached to MTV2 mindfuck Wonder Showzen. If he could just take a step back from the mic and let the layers unfold, then Bear in Heaven could continue penning This Heat's tome. Until then, they'll happily subside on a diet of intentionally awkward noise and perfectly placed lasers.

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