Boy & Bear @ Bowery Ballroom

MANHATTAN, NY—Dave Hosking first gained local attention with a song he uploaded for a local radio station in his native Sydney, Australia. In time, he met another singer-songwriter, Killian Gavin, and the pair started jamming together. They met bassist Jake Tarasenko and drummer Tim Hart, both of whom had fronted their own groups, and they became Boy & Bear, an indie folk-pop band, in 2009. When Hart’s brother, Jon Hart, joined on banjo, mandolin and keyboards, the quintet’s lineup was complete. (Tarasenko was later replaced by present bassist Dave Symes.) The band’s 2011 debut album, Moonfire, earned them five prizes at the 2011 Australian Record Industry Association (ARIA) Music Awards. The follow-up album, Harlequin Dream, reached number one on the ARIA Albums Chart in its debut week in 2013.

At the Bowery Ballroom on March 24, Boy & Bear provided a pleasant blend of folk, pop and light rock. The band opened with “Three Headed Woman,” a raw rocker featuring a rousing guitar solo. The second track, “Rabbit Song,” was more serious, a commentary about having to join the rat race. From there on, the show settled into a more leisurely flow. Dave Hosking, the mustachioed lead singer, was the group’s focal point, and he was an engaging frontman, interacting with the audience in a modest, homespun manner.

The largely laid-back repertoire consisted of sunny, melodic anthems, infused with guitar, banjo, mandolin and keyboard riffs, but especially with plenty of lush vocal harmonies. The rich, delicious harmonies were critical to the sound of Boy & Bear, and Hosking enjoyed ample support from his four bandmates. When all five band members sang, the songs breathed at their best. It was not quite Australia’s answer to Mumford & Sons, nor was it a new Fleetwood Mac, but perhaps the music fell somewhere in between. Boy & Bear’s presentation came across as sincere, sophisticated and seductively impressive.


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