Live Review: Bess Atwell / Benjamin Francis Leftwich / Bear’s Den – Eventim Apollo, London 18.05.2022

Michael Hundertmark

With an extensive tour underway and just releasing a new album ‘Blue Hours’, Bear’s Den return to London’s Eventim Apollo after nearly twenty four months with a defining set with plenty of applause!

First of all and fitting nicely for the audience to settle down for the evening’s mesmerising guitar laden evocative songwriting was the superb Bess Atwell and Benjamin Francis Leftwich. 

Bess Atwell just released her album evocative ‘Already Always’ album at the tail end of last year and for tonight was accompanied by her Guitarist on the large stage together with a drum machine mapping out the beats to her mesmerising songs. Her set was honest and emotionally set when she stood in the middle of the stage with a spotlight shining on her. Not very engaging to the audience she looked a bit lost trying to project her songs across the large auditorium. But her vocal tone was very striking and focused. Her sand out song for the evening’s short set was ‘Red Light Heaven’ showing off her evocative vocal style to perfection.

An extra special guest for the London Show was Benjamin Francis Leftwich standing on his lonesome under the bright spotlight. He has been on the Indie Scene for the last decade. His most recent album ‘To Carry A Whale’ shows off his most focused songwriting. With High anticipation, the crowds gave him a loud cheer but unfortunately, his projection was not powerful enough to curl a call for silence from the chattering crowds in the background. In a blink of an eye, the Final song ‘Atlas Hands’ was beautifully played out.

With The Sudden descending of the Auditorium lights and the strobe flashes on either side of the stage, Bear’s Den arrives on stage in a Smokey haze. For tonight’s show. Rather than the normal two pieces guitar duo, there is a seven-strong with two trumpet players hidden at the rear.

Bear’s Dens are a London based Duo Andrew Davie and Kevin Jones who had extensively toured before the pandemic and tonight are greeted to a huge cheer with the opening track ‘Blue Hours’ The lighting that accompanied the show was as expressive almost told the story as did the strong lyrics and chorus lines! With ‘Elysium’ taken from the first album Ben and Andrew go back to their Folk roots and is a real crowd pleaser moving through the set their caustically take the audience through a mix of old and new songs with soft harmonies and catchy lyrics. Halfway through their strip it back to an unplugged basic ‘Sophie’ where you could almost hear a pin drop as the fans were silenced. 

Davie tells the audience “We found ourselves in a strange position, we kind off in the chart for the first every time.” In effect, this caused the biggest fan cheer as their thanked everyone and was fortunate enough to be able to play in Hammersmith again and that would acoustically stick with everyone in tonight’s attendance at the Eventim Apollo!

Bear’s Den Eventim Apollo Set List:

Blue Hours

Red Earth & Pouring Rain

Frighten Whispers


All That You Are



Sophie (Off Mic)

Fuel on the Fire

New Ways



The Love We Stole


Auld Wives

Laurel Wreath


Above the Clouds of Pompeii



Previous <strong><u>Album Review: Rubber Oh – Strange Craft</u></strong>
Next Live Review: Julien Baker / Ratboys - Whelan's, Dublin 22.05.2022

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