REVIEW: B in the Bear, The Brown Bear
LAST year it was wellie and umbrella central on Hide Hill as hundreds of revellers defied the elements to go along to B in the Bear 4. But Mother Nature obviously decided two years of rain would just to be too cruel and blessed this year’s event with sunshine from start to finish for what was a cracking display of top quality local music.
Since starting up in 2008, B in the Bear has become one of the biggest events on Berwick’s social calendar and the buzz reverberating outside The Brown Bear on Sunday afternoon was contagious.
People had paid their £5 in support of Berwick and District Cancer Support Group, helping to raise a total of £3,325, and were determined to have some fun in the sun. And they were rewarded with a veritable who’s who of the Berwick and Berwickshire music scene.
B in the Bear 5’s lineup boasted acts that had been there from the start, like headliners We Were Kings, alongside acts making their debuts at the event such as Point Blank.
In front of what is sure to have been a record attendance for B in the Bear, including fans that had travelled over the the border, the acts showed exactly why there is a genuine excitement about the quality of music the area is producing at the minute.
Original songs sat perfectly alongside popular cover versions with lead singer of Point Blank, Norham’s Roger West taking the audience on a ‘Back To The Future’ style trip through rock history, lending his polished vocals to the likes of Sex Pistols ‘Pretty Vacant’ and The Undertones ‘Teenage Kicks’ and then bringing things into the 21st century with renditions of Kings of Leon’s ‘Use Somebody’ and ‘Dakota’ by the Stereophonics.
As any local music fan will profess, no-one does a cover version quite like The Joe Mangels and after punters had been entertained with self-penned tracks such as ‘Silence’ and a cover of Placebo’s ‘Pure Morning’ from the band before them, it was time for the Hawaiian shirted foursome to take to the stage.
It would be fair to say the guys were many people’s highlight of B in the Bear 4 so they’d set themselves a tough act to follow. But adopting the ‘if it ain’t broke don’t fix it’ mentality, the Mangels rocked the house once again. Opening with a rocked up take of The Carpenters’ ‘On Top of The World’, the band definitely cranked things up a notch.
Back were the inventive covers of Ace of Base’s ‘All That She Wants’, Glen Campbell’s ‘Rhinestone Cowboy’ and ‘Don’t Cry For Me Argentina’. And Evita’s calling card wasn’t the only musical number they tackled, new for 2012 was a cracking take on ‘You’re The One That I Want’ which I’m sure Travolta and Newton John would appreciate.
Like The Joe Mangels, The Warehouse Announcement are always big crowd pleasers wherever they go and even though they could now be considered B in the Bear veterans there were certainly no signs of complacency during their set on Sunday.
Songs like ‘Sound of Drums’ and ‘Mascara Mistress’ have practically written themselves into local music folklore and even though frontman Paul Sinclair admitted they’d only practised their cover of Oasis’s anthem ‘Champagne Supernova’ a handful of times, it certainly wasn’t obvious. And while Liam Gallagher divided opinion with his performance at the Olympic closing ceremony, Warehouse definitely got a resounding thumbs up from the B in the Bear faithful.
A band not on the original line up but making a triumphant come back were The Briganties with the Brown Bear revellers clearly buzzing to see them play on home turf once again.
A long time favourite of many a local music fan, We Were Kings were given the headliners slot on Sunday and they justified top billing getting the crowd, which by this point included many members of bands who’d already taken to the stage, dancing and singing as the sun began to set on what by all accounts was a day that couldn’t have gone any better.
Posting on Facebook, organiser Julie Taylor wrote: “What a brilliant day! I’d like to thank you all so much...see you at B in the Bear 6!”