Little Bear
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Little Bear

Derry, N Ireland, United Kingdom | Established. Jan 01, 2012 | INDIE

Derry, N Ireland, United Kingdom | INDIE
Established on Jan, 2012
Band Alternative Folk

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"That day, Derry locals Little Bear – purveyors of emotionally literate rock – were finishing a fringe gig in the minuscule church of St Augustine on the city's ancient walls. Then they retired to the pub to toast what felt like a triumphant show long into the night. When the organisers rang, asking them to step up for the big gig the following evening, the barman was ordered to stop serving the Guinness mid-pint and taxis were ordered so the boys could be put to bed post haste for what could prove to be their biggest break ever...But coming in at the bottom were Little Bear. And they were excellent." - Guardian


Little Bear are a four piece band from Derry. These four fellas have the ability to create delicate melodic clouds of candyfloss that carry you through the night and rock you gently as you go. Their music swells the room and the smiling crowd at Whelan’s on the first damp Thursday of October. They‘ve given us a taster of their talent with their appearance on “Other Voices” from Derry back in February. Little Bear live is even better, as we discovered back in January, when they played Ones To Watch 2013.

Lead singer, songwriter and bass player Steven Mc Cool is very good with words. His lyrics give the band’s work that illusive ability to connect. Surrounding me, spirits are lifted and smiles are drawn. Eager ears respond to the set. They start with new atmospheric material setting the scene for soundscape heaven. Steven’s emotive vocals pick up tempo with “Second In Line”. Mouth organ and bass lines lead us into this deceptive little story of unrequited love. “I would wait second in line for you“ breaks the bass and turns up the tempo hitting a Mumfordesque repeat and deliver uplifting chorus, warming whooo’s and hand holding poetics.

“I’d let you win” launches the next lonesome lovely tune “Tearful Skies and Walking Eyes”. On paper it sounds a bit misery Morrissey. But in reality it’s lush, layered, fragile and fulsome. Very Richard Hawley in parts, arrangements are not unfamiliar on Cole’s Corner.

When “The Devil is a Songbird” comes along the atmosphere is mellow. Those reverb whistling phones capture the melody, giving it a lonesome hollow sense of desolation. Sombre quiet delivery from Steven, understated elegance. Everyone hums it. “And the devil’s a songbird picking at my heart” followed by that whistling again is irresistible. Meandering gently into “It Depends”. A new track, it’s emotive and searching, taking the listener towards the audible jewel that is “ Night Dries Like Ink.”

“Night dries in, like ink against a glowing sea, brother I smile. Part of you, part of me. Fixed to the land. Motionless I call to thee. Blessed by the leaves and the autumn skies surrounding me.“ It’s almost a hymn. Another reference to the devil. The song is actually about McCool’s brother and his forced emigration to Australia. It’s a song many could sing. Rich and heavy, silent loss and echoing choruses. Sadness wrapped in pure luxury.

The New Unnamed Track got an airing next, a relaxed oceany feel from it, gently building guiding us into another familiar track called “Letters.” It has a bit of a Villagers feel to the ghostly echoes and opening chords. Chirpy and harmonic melodies carved into heavier riffs pick up the pace. “Dissonance “ is anther new track, which according to McCool means a lot to him. Into the much loved “Few and Far Between”, a song of the search for love that ends in Inishfree. The crowd move forward and all but hug the stage, singing it straight back at the boys. Ryan grins over to Mark on drums. They can’t quite believe it. Neither can the crowd. An encore is demanded. Smiling, grateful and full of thanks Little Bear give us another rendition of “Second in Line”. I have a funny feeling there will be lots of people who will wait “Second in Line“ to see these guys. It’s no wonder they were plucked and placed on the slot where Two Door Cinema Club should have been for their second shot at Other Voices. Alex Trimble rang in sick and Little Bear got the gig. Since then they’ve accumulated much critical acclaim from The Guardian, The Irish Times and BBC& RTE Radio. Currently signed to Smalltown America they have a double a side available with “Killer” and “Night Dries Like Ink”. - Dublin Concerts


Little Bear at the Black Box
Belfast audience's have a reputation for chatting during quiet gigs. Much has been said and written about acoustic shows being ruined by rowdy types who want to get the beers in and have the craic rather than take in the tunes. Astonishingly then that late on a Saturday night, at a sold out venue, Little Bear achieved total silence. Not a single word was uttered as the Derry four piece gave flawless performances of "I'd Let You Win" and "Night Dries Like Ink" amongst a mesmerising set which featured the wonderful Prima String Quartet. By the encore, they were brave enough to go completely acoustic, performing without a single amp turned on. A magical evening. - The Mirror


Discography

Still working on that hot first release.

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Bio

Little Bear are a four piece band from Northern Ireland playing emotionally literate rock, and are made up of Steven McCool (Bass and vocals), Mark O'Doherty (Drums), Ryan Griffiths (Guitar), and Conor Mason (Piano).

After releasing "I'd Let You Win", a preview to their debut E.P, Little Bear received some fantastic reviews - Including both "Flavour of the Month" and "Ones to Watch" from BBC introducing. 

Some extremely well-received live shows followed, including an appearance at Dublin's Hard Working Class Heroes festival and the Derry juncture of Other Voices. Soon after, the band was asked to play at the first Other Voices event in Londons timeless Wiltons Music Hall, along with acts like Villagers, John Grant and Imelda May. The summer has been filled with festivals, including the last Glasgowbury, Indiependence, Castlepalooza, Stendhal and finished the festival season on a high playing Electric Picnic.

Little Bear have seen tracks playlisted on BBC Radio 1, Rte 1, Downtown and City Beat.

The band have just released their first single with Smalltown America records, a double A-side of Night Dries Like Ink and Killer. 

"Excellent" - Caspar Llewellyn Smith (The Guardian)

"poignant lyrics, beautiful songs a band worth falling in love with" Rigsy (BBC Across The Line)

"I'd Let You Win is one of the most beguiling tunes we've heard in quite some time" - Jim Carroll (Irish Times)

Band Members