The Black Bear Saloon
Way back in the 2000 and 3, a Belfast-based alt rock fourpiece by the name of Throat parted ways, after 8 years of writing and gigging across Ireland. It took three years for the dust to settle, but out of the ashes of Throat came two new bands. The first, Dutch Schultz, is fast forging itself a reputation as one of Belfast's most promising new bands in town. Their sibling, The Black Bear Saloon, remains relatively unknown, having yet to establish itself as a real challenger on the local scene.
Tonight The Black Bear Saloon headline a show at Lavery's Bunker, receiving support from local contenders Soulchild. The place has a regular Saturday night buzz about it, with people scattered about at tables having a drink and a chat. There doesn't seem to be that same anticipation of the headline act as there would be were a more established name headlining the bill.
But that's not to detract from the show that frontman Aaron Abernethy and his band put on for the seemingly disinterested crowd. As soon as they kick things off a few eyebrows are raised and a handful of punters get on their feet to see what all the fuss is about. There's a lot of screaming going on, but it turns out to be from Abernethy rather than a legion of adorning fans. In the lull between tunes one bystander is overheard saying, ï¿½Sean, this band is very angry.ï¿½
But it's anger tempered with melody. The Black Bear Saloon are somewhere between the grunginess of the QOTSA, the bluesy-ness of Clutch, and the hardcore vocals of The Dillinger Escape Plan. And It Works. Something To Strive For is a stand-out track. And whilst the majority of tonight's punters would be more suited to a Pete Snodden DJ set at the Beach Club, there are a few in the audience tonight who grasp what these guys are trying to do. It's just a shame to see someone screaming their lungs out on stage and not really getting the attention they deserve.
If The Black Bear Saloon hope to break onto the local scene as vivaciously as their friends Dutch Schultz have, it will take a lot more gigging, and a different audience.