Live Review: Kings and Bears at The Engine Shed, Lincoln

Readers may remember me mentioning a ‘wondrously talented’ band in my review of 2Q Festival from November – that band was Kings and Bears. The Lincolnshire-based three piece were kind enough to allow me to come out and review/photograph their final gig of the year for Joyzine as they supported Gentleman’s Dub Club, and what a treat it was…

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This time swapping out a packed Angel Coffee House for Lincoln’s largest music venue, The Engine Shed, it was set to be another energetic, warming and excitement-packed performance as dedicated Kings and Bears fans took their place close to the stage, proudly displaying their t shirts emblazoned with the band’s logo. Opening the set with their latest release, ‘Say You Love Her’, the BBC Introducing acclaimed trio started off strong with their instantly recognisable mix of catchy guitar riffs, bouncing bass lines, toe-tapping drum beats and silky smooth vocals. Kings and Bears are one of few bands whose songs seamlessly tread the line between being an easy listen with a great beat to dance to, yet presenting fans with something new to notice every time they go back for another listen (which they will want to go back and do time and time again). The energy and enthusiasm in each individual sound component increases tenfold in their live performances, and the chemistry that exists between these is a sight (and sound) to behold – on record as well as in a live setting.

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The guys kept the upbeat tempo going with their next track, ‘Than We’ve Ever Been Before’; the crowd instantly forgot that it was a Sunday night as they had no qualms nodding and clapping along to the bright, energising tune. It would practically be an insult to try and pin Kings and Bears down to a genre as they bring together all the best qualities from soul, reggae and rock to feel almost like a gem of a band you might find in a club in the 1960s as various forms of rock music were taking over the industry, but with a unique, modern twist. Again, they seem to effortlessly tread the often tricky line between being evocative of and taking clear lines of inspiration from the greats, and keeping their sound fresh and transformative. The energy didn’t cease for a second as they played through an excellently selected set list of incredible tunes such as ‘Only The Brave’, ‘Rise Up’ (and a personal favourite of mine) ‘Take on The Night’. Even after the band had left the stage, the crowd were excitedly chattering away about how enjoyable the performance was and had been left with smiles on their faces – it was clear that the trio had brought their A-game and then some to this show.

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Kings and Bears are a band that have enough talent, determination and energy in their sound, performance and set list selections to blow the roof off of any venue, from a small, charming historical building and beyond to much larger capacity spaces. They need no more than their untameable spirit and dedication to their craft to convert more than a few gig-goers into big fans anywhere they go, and for this reason alone, these guys are ones to watch in the New Year…

Review and photography by Chloe Addlesee

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