Bear Mountain @ Celebrities -- 04/04/15

I am going to be honest here: I am not an electronic music guy. Of course, there are a few bands in the genre I like, but overall? Not really my thing. So I never thought I would be partaking in the 2015 Seasons Festival, an electronic music fest with headliners like Diplo and Eric Prydz.
But then I spotted a Bear Mountain show as part of the fest, and with their blend of electro, pop, and indie, they would definitely get me to Celebrities (perhaps the only venue in Vancouver I still had yet to see a show at).

Another plus was the opening act, Chersea. She explored a bit more of the "electronic" side of her electro-alt-pop sound for the festival. She still had the same bubbly energy and soaring vocals, they were just a little more 'robotic' than usual, with synthesizers and drum beats and at least one bass drop in the set.
Most of the set was newer songs, as she looped a myriad of instruments from keys to drum pad to synth and even a trumpet, and even the one familiar tune, "Requiem" off her Grey Matter EP, was punched up for the growing crowd to dance.
She ended her short opening set with another new song and a bit of participation, getting the audience in on the looping action, holding the microphone out to the growing crowd to record and loop their clapping along, which was pretty cool.

Next up was Sabota, featuring one half of Humans Robbie Slade and Max Ulis. The duo's set was a lot more what you would expect from an electronic festival, with both guys standing behind a table of equipment and Robbie providing live vocals. It was definitely more of a house music sound, and thus not really my speed... but they had a full dance floor moving for the set, so even though it was not to my tastes, they were clearly doing a good job.

And not long after -- the show was tightly scheduled so Celebrities could kick everyone out at 11 -- Bear Mountain took the stage. One of the thing that always impresses me of their shows is the visuals, as Kenji Rodriguez does these live on stage (as well as playing the keytar). So you get a really cool and dynamic show, different every time. Images projected on large triangles behind them, with a giant LED 'BMTN' looming over the stage, and even the house lights part of the show. At one point the stage went dark for sparse white lights to twinkle overhead, giving it a stellar feel.

They kicked off the set with the familiar "Congo" getting the sold out club jumping, and bursts of confetti came early and often, as lead singer Ian Bevis frequently asked if the crowd was ready right before songs burst forth into giant hooks. The first half of the set mostly featured older songs, like the ridiculously and insanely catchy "Faded" before they teased some new material. Bevis announced their new album was finally, after two years, done. Mastered and everything. The new songs sounded even more punchy and dancey, so I'm looking forward to it.

And I'm not sure if it was by design, to mimic the feel of a DJ for the electronic festival, but there were hardly any breaks between the songs; they transitioned from one to the next flawlessly. After nearly an hour, the band brought the main set to an end with an explosive song (I think it was "Swim") before coming back out for one more, "Two Step", a the bouncy and uplifting genre-bending song to cap off the night.

Since seeing them for the first time a few years ago, rocketing along Canada on a train as part of Tracks on Tracks, Bear Mountain has continually impressed me with their live shows. This night was no different, and I can't wait to hear the new album.