It had been a long, long while since Boy & Bear had taken to the stage in Berlin. Lead singer Dave Hosking’s persisting battles with an array of health concerns put the future of the band in uncertainty coming off the back of their Limit Of Love tour in 2016, forcing them to take a break while he recovered.
Despite their turbulent recent history, however, the Australian band didn’t miss a beat as they launched into their first song of the night, ‘Old Town Blues’, and you could feel the collective anticipation and excitement in the room at being able to experience the band live again after the four year hiatus. B&B followed this with ‘Milk and Sticks’ from their debut album, then blended into ‘Three Headed Woman’, delighting the crowd. The band are currently touring their new and much-awaited album Suck On Light which came out late last year and their setlist combined a healthy mix of these new songs (which had not been heard live before by most of this audience), with much-loved crowd favourites, especially from albums Moonfire and Harlequin Dream.
While it would have been acceptable for Boy & Bear to be rusty after such a long break, the display was far from it. They showed such passion in their performance and cemented their place back on the scene, showing that they have returned to the stage reinvigorated. They slowed things mid-way through with an emotional acoustic version of ‘A Moment’s Grace’, before picking the energy back up as they played their first single off the new album, ‘Hold Your Nerve’. While the song delves into relationship and health problems, it also offers optimism and has an upbeat feel.
The band are known to have spoken out against playing encores in the past. However, on their latest string of shows they’ve strayed away from this tradition, much to the pleasure of the audience as they had saved the best till last. First was ‘Limit of Love’, the titular single from their third album, followed by their cover of Crowded House’s ‘Fall At Your Feet’, which – despite being a decade old – will remain a beloved version amongst fans with its extraordinarily tight harmonies.
‘Southern Sun’ was undoubtedly the crowd favourite, though. As someone had earlier yelled out a request for it, before Hosking assured it was coming, claiming “it would be rude to come all this way and not play it”, this track closed the night, with the whole crowd singing and dancing along. It was a highly anticipated show and Boy & Bear delivered, showing that they’re back, and that they never really left. and, judging by this performance, there is much to look forward to from them in the future.