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Boy & Bear


Boy & Bear’s Get Up & Dance tour will stop by Albany Entertainment Centre on Thursday, September 26; Bunbury Entertainment Centre on Friday, September 27, and the Fremantle Arts Centre on Sunday, September 28. BOB GORDON reports

If it’s Monday, it must be Los Angeles.

That’s the way it’s rolling for Boy & Bear at the moment, the band’s touring regime this year has seen them play 85 show so far, with at least that many to go. Even when they have time off, they’ve got somewhere to go.

“We’re just waiting for the van to pick us up from LAX,” says drummer Tim Hart down the line from LA’s famous airport. “We just flew in from Nashville and we’re on our way to the hotel.

“We’ve got a few weeks off. We’re going to be playing the Conan O’Brien Show in a couple of days. They tape that in Burbank, Los Angeles, and that’ll happen on the 23rd. We fly out that night, then we come back home for six days then we’re off to Europe. We’ll rest for a few days so we’re not jetlagged for the first show, though we usually are anyway, but a few beers fixes that (laughs).”

The run of shows in the US over the last month has already been quite a whirlwind, with a number of key gigs, notably Red Rocks, Colorado.

“That was pretty amazing,” Hart gushes, “we were really blown away by it. One of the coolest things is that the whole backstage is built into the rock. There’s a tunnel that goes up to where the soundguy mixes the show that’s got all the signatures of all the bands who have played there. You’ve got your Neil Youngs and your Cat Stevens, The Rolling Stones and U2… we felt really humbled to play there. And it sounds amazing. It was really one of those things to tick off the bucket list.”

The John Butler Trio recently sold out at the same venue, but for many, the mention of Red Rocks Amphitheatre, conjures up memories of U2’s iconic Live Under A Blood Red Sky EP and video from way back in 1984.

“It was incredible that video,” Hart enthuses. “Me and my brother John who plays in the band (banjo, mandolin, keyboards), we used to stay up late on a Friday night as teenagers, and pop on that video. We were lovin’ it. It was incredible to go on the same stage. It was wonderful.”

Those sorts of pinch-yourself moments become more frequent as Boy & Bear tour more often and on an ever-widening scale.

“To be honest it’s what we’ve been shooting for,” Hart says. “The venues have been getting grander, but we’ve worked as hard as we can to get to this point. To roll into a town and the radio stations are playing your song… it really is one of those moments and you do sort of pinch yourself. Hopefully we can just keep working hard and keep it going ‘cause it feels pretty good.”

This time last year, the band were a few weeks shy of the release of Harlequin Dream, the album that has taken them out into the world more than ever before. Plans were afoot, but they could not have had an inkling of what was to follow in the 12 months ahead.

“We didn’t really,” Hart says. “There was a lot up in the air before we released this record. We’ve got incredible management and they’ve managed to find a really great booking agent and label in the UK, Europe and in the US and Canada, really lovely people and hardworking and not in it for a big, pop single, but in it to build a career for the band. Once we knew they were on board we were hoping that we’d be able to come out and work harder and we have been really fortunate in how it’s turned out.

“We’re really stoked. It’s a lot of time away from your family and your loved ones, but if you have the opportunity it’s a really special thing and we definitely don’t take it for granted.”

Despite all the miles covered, Hart says that Boy & Bear has some “rough but exciting demos” for their next album, which they hope to complete by mid-2015. In the meantime, it must be heartening for the band to know that while they’re away shows on their springtime Get Up & Dance Australian tour are selling out one-by-one.

“Yeah,” Hart laughs, “it’s nice, isn’t it? If you watched that TV series they made on INXS, when a band has some success overseas and starts to focus there Australia can feel a little bit like it’s out of the picture. It’s good to know that the fans have been there from the start and enjoying the music and with these shows coming up we know they’re still with us.

Hopefully that following keeps going because we love playing live and Australia is our home and always our favourite place to play. Hopefully people will keep coming along, it’s really special that they are.”

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