B.C.’s born and bred Van Damsel and Bear Mountain rock Cactus Jacks
Kim Anderson, Contributor Ω
Unique, uplifting, or as Ian Bevis, front man of Bear Mountain put it: “nostalgic.” These are three words that accurately describe the band’s debut feature length album XO. On tour now, Bear Mountain headlined at Cactus Jack’s nightclub on Feb. 20. Kamloops homegrown band Van Damsel opened.
Van Damsel’s charismatic lead singer Sebastien Ste Marie had no problem getting bodies to the dance floor, but there was a significant energy shift among the crowd when it played an upbeat cover of late Michael Jackson’s “Black or White.”
Although the king of pop is long gone, Ste Marie and company did the song justice. Van Damsel got the whole room pumped up and when Bear Mountain took the stage, it was met with a raucous welcome from the crowd.
For a band who originally started out as an “angsty, punky” band, playing “garage-type shit,” as guitarist Kyle Statham explained, Bear Mountain has certainly evolved.
It’s near impossible to slot Bear Mountain into a specific genre because their sound is simply so unique. A blend of electronic, dance and experimental pop music with distinct and powerful vocals from Bevis can strike a special chord within the listener.
The audience was treated to an incredibly clean and tight set. The pounding electronic beats set the fast-paced tone for the evening, and once it began, it refused to let up for a moment.
Seamless bass lines combined with pulsating electronic beats, high-energy drumming, precise guitar riffs and soulful, on-point vocals filled the band’s set.
The electric lighting show grabbed the attention of many audience members from the beginning. It was coordinated perfectly by the creative and visual director Kenji Rodriguez. Twirling, spinning and flashing psychedelic lights were projected onto two upside down triangles on either side of drummer Greg Bevis.
Bear Mountain has had some wild reactions from energetic crowds before. Ian Bevis recalled that once, when playing at a university in Connecticut, the audience totally lost control. “[They] started storming the stage like those bugs in Starship Troopers, then out of nowhere started chanting U.S.A,” Bevis said.
With irreversible damage to my eardrums from standing so close to the stage, I have no regrets watching the performance. It’s fantastic to see a B.C. band gaining steam and throwing down live performances with so much energy and gusto.