Worcester city centre is usually a fairly quiet place; but this weekend I couldn’t help but notice that everything seemed a little more raucous there than usual. Almost every bar in the city seemed to be buzzing with smartly dressed individuals who had been to ladies day at the local race course, but luckily it seemed to be a more relaxed affair as I went into The Marrs Bar to watch Hunter & The Bear.

As Hunter & The Bear took to the stage, husky-toned front man Will Irvine seemed in good spirits he cracked a joke about being glad that the audience had gone home and dressed down for the occasion. Everyone seemed excited as they launched into a tight performance of one of their heavier, Americana inspired tracks, Go Easy on Me. This was shortly followed by On The Run; which was more akin to an upbeat, modern British folk sound.

Throughout the set, the band kept the audience moving with their own fun and enjoyable brand of folk-rock; but perhaps some of the most beautiful and poignant moments came during their performances of Since September & Wounded. Since September is a song that the band wrote about a friend of theirs that they hadn’t seen for a very long time, while there was a real sense of vulnerability during their performance of Wounded, as the guys left the stage to perform the song acoustically in the middle of the audience.

During the last few years, the lads have supported the likes of Eric Clapton and Bruce Springsteen in the UK, and there was an appreciative nod part way through the set as the band performed a cover of Bruce Springsteen’s The River. I thought they were actually pretty brave and gutsy to tackle a song that is an absolute classic, but they pulled it off without a flaw and showcased some wonderful vocal harmonies throughout.

If one thing’s for sure about Hunter & The Bear, their talent certainly shines through when you see a live performance by them. Tonight I was captivated by their on stage energy and talented storytelling through each of their songs, and I personally can’t wait to see what the rest of 2016 brings for this band .

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