Hunter & The Bear
Free before 9pm, £4 thereafter
Every fledgling band needs their own rehearsal space – the school music room or the drummer’s bedroom – but Hunter And The Bear ended up in a soundproofed shipping container in a London car park, a nice touch for a band that are certainly going places. Starting out as a duo, long-time friends Jimmy Hunter (lead guitar/mandolin) and Will Irvine (guitar/lead vocals and nicknamed “The Bear” at school, so work out the origins of their unusual band name yourselves) ended up at the same university in Newcastle writing songs together before heading south to London in 2012 in pursuit of gigs.
Their hard work and enthusiastic approaching to playing live, anywhere and anytime, led to the addition of drummer Gareth Thompson, who they spotted playing at Ronnie Scott’s Jazz Club and the rhythm section was completed in 2014 with the addition of bassist Chris Clark, a timely move as they were given the opportunity to support Eric Clapton on his UK arena tour that same summer as well as performing at Scotland’s T In The Park and Belladrum Tartan Heart festivals.
The band’s influences are rich and varied, which is reflected in their music. Irvine and Hunter’s Scottish upbringings lent exposure to traditional music but a love of classic rock bands like LynyrdSkynrydand The Band shines through in both song-writing and performance – a powerful blend of folk, rock and country, with strong vocal harmonies and soaring guitar lines. Debut EP “Dusty Road” (featuring favourites “Forest On The Hill” and “Taliesin”) earned high praise and the follow-up EP “Before I Came Home” was preceded by single “Pick Me Up.”
In August this year, the band played Reading Festival and new EP entitled “Wildfire” was released in the summer, containing standout tracks “Burn It Up” and “Since September.”