Bear in Heaven Mohawk, Austin TX March 13

Bear in Heaven Mohawk, Austin TX March 13
As one of Pitchfork's chosen acts to open the first official night of the music week of SXSW, Bear in Heaven were a good choice. They got off to a bit of a false start -- the opening track getting cut short due to an in-band technical failure -- but they brushed it off confidently and with a good sense of humour, singer Jon Philpot's banter putting everyone at ease. Philpot might look distractingly like Will Ferrell up close, but he sounds a good deal like George Michael live, particularly on the excellent "Do You Do." Performing as a three-piece, swapping instruments where necessary, the most appealing part of their live sound was the way they seamlessly blended electronics and drums, the mix of live kits and beats working up some well-done downtempo indie dance. Bear in Heaven's sound was a little bit lost in the outdoor space -- especially the vocals, which could have used a bit more power -- but the band kept the beats coming at a consistent, steady pace, BPMs constrained. Adding to the live mix, Bear in Heaven injected washes of hypnotic sound mixed with some Johnny Marr-esque guitar lines and hints of M83.