Bear Ceuse 9/10/16

(a) setlist

I don’t know! And it doesn’t even matter. Local bands who come out and jam the night away don’t need setlists. The band played for about an hour and they rocked.

(b) highlights

  • seeing my awesome coworker Cameron – who happens to be the frontman of Bear Ceuse – be a badass singer, excellent guitarist, and general fun frontman; and I say this pretty objectively speaking…he was awesome.
  • I freaking love Mercury Lounge – one of the best venues in New York City without a doubt. It always reminds me of all the bands I’ve seen there before, especially The Cribs, and I can’t help but think about how The Strokes and Yeah Yeah Yeahs got their start there in the early 2000’s. Love it.
  • despite having never heard any of the songs before, I was so into Bear Ceuse’s rock ‘n’ roll vibe in the vein of Big Talk, slight alt-country hint a la Snakearm, and Everclear-esque vocals. The music was both familiar and fresh all at once.
  • a super sweet and heart-warming cover of Gene Wilder’s “Pure Imagination” in light of his then-recent death was unexpected and charming.

(c) lowlights

  • the venue was hot af; broken air-conditioners in an Indian summer are not that great.

(d) overall thoughts

I don’t see a ton of local bands in NYC, which I’m sure comes across as a gigantic and embarrassing loss of opportunity, but oh well. I was happy that the chance to see Bear Ceuse popped up. I was in need of a show – I was getting that twitch of having not seen a live show in awhile (over a month!!! what!), so I jumped at this. The lead singer and songwriter of Bear Ceuse, Cameron Matthews, is actually my coworker and a freaking cool ass dude. He super downplays his talent and Bear Ceuse is cool as hell.

As I mentioned, Bear Ceuse is unique because they sound a bit like a bunch of different bands, but also sound like no one else. With a traditional set-up of four dudes on drums, bass, and two guitars, they felt like a slice of rock ‘n’ roll without being too punk. Cameron mentioned that the second song was “a country one,” which gave away a bit more about how the band views themselves than the type of band they actually are. I’ve seen a couple of acts the last two years or so that really utilized that gritty and fun crossover of alt-country and funky rock ‘n’ roll (including Halloween Town and Romance Fantasy), and I’ve decided that I really dig it. A couple of songs in the set absolutely gave way to a late-90’s post-grunge feel close to Everclear or even Soundgarden sometimes, but the refreshing playfulness to the performance made the experience fun, to say the least.


Bottom line: Bear Ceuse is cool as shit and seems to be bursting with musical ideas; I look forward to listening to more of their work to find more connective threads in the their songs that appear to be brush with fun and unique influences.

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