What if I told you that I met Ian Bevis about three years ago at charity fundraiser that he and his friends were hosting as part of a cross-Canada-tandem-bike-adventure that can only really be appreciated once you picture a man of his height on a tandem bike? At the time I wasn’t writing about music, and Bear Mountain had not been fully realized yet. Fast forward to Wrongbar, night three of NXNE and I’m watching him front a band that has literally blown up in the last eight months.
Admittedly, I was in that bar because I was curious about the live performance. Who doesn’t want to see the band whose buzz grew exponentially after playing Sasquatch? I stayed for their set, which didn’t start until 1am, because I wanted to ‘bear’ witness in order fill out the article that I’m writing about them. I expected to feel the swell, feel my chest rise up and my heartbeat quicken. I expected the crowd to know who they were because of their immense internet following, and I expected the industry to be present as they were on a short list of bands to watch on that day’s press release. What I did NOT expect to see was a crowd a thousand people deep jump in unison for forty minutes straight screaming all their lyrics. I did not expect to be able to tell Greg after the set that that was the most energy I had seen drawn out of a crowd all week, especially after seeing Dan Deacon the night before.
Their stage set-up is simple, Ian and Kyle out front; their movements the proverbial butterfly wings that create hurricanes in the audience. Greg tucked away to the side, as easily as you can tuck a seven foot tall man and a drum kit. Finally, Kenji in back mixing the potent beats; creating; projecting; a sorcerer on the computer. Triangles of light and image are propped up behind them like windows into the technicolour dreamscape from which their sound was born.
Bear Mountain is one of those bands that you can close your eyes to and truly feel the waves of sound flow over you; one of those bands you go to see with your friends, and somewhere in the middle of the set you look over and see them and everyone around you jumping in slow motion. The bar blacked out; all you can see is the silhouettes of the boys on stage, green light and blinking triangles; all you can hear is your summer anthems, and all you feel is the dreams you have of chasing live music coming true.
Look out for MVRemix’s upcoming full length article on Bear Mountain.