Ones to watch: Fight The Bear
Fusing infectious ska beats with a raw rock sound is bread and butter to progressive West Midlands band Fight the Bear.
The Shropshire based quartet, who hail from Bishop's Castle, have been together for the best part of the last decade.
"We knew each other before the band," said frontman Jonny Keeley.
"We grew up together and lived in the same small town… we just grew up playing."
Fight the Bear also feature Jamie Furber on guitar and vocals, Dunk Burns on drums and 'Bear', aka Ben Beddoes, on drums.
The band are heavily influenced by American ska punk band Sublime.
However, Fight The Bear are no carbon copy. They fuse the best elements of ska punk with their own, unique personality. The result is gut wrenching riffs, neat rhythms, funky bass lines and stunning vocals.
Fight The Bear have gigged extensively, both in the UK and overseas. The band have played across Britain, and most of Europe too, even driving to the Netherlands from Shropshire for a show in one drive…a mere 20-hour journey.
Despite playing at countless venues in countless cities the group still have their hearts close to home. "I think my favourite actual gig was possibly Shrewsbury Field Festival last year," Jonny said. "It gave us a great opportunity to show our fans we aren't just a band who sits in the pub corner."
Previous albums Dead Sea Fruit and Gutter Love have enjoyed a fantastic reception. Those records dazzled hosts of BBC Introducing, who gave them well-deserved airtime. Such acclaim was due in no small part to standout tracks such as Night Owl, No Soldier and 'Moon, which highlighted the band's range, from sombre melodies to in-your-face, get-on-your-feet dance/ska fun.
The band are currently focused on releasing their eagerly anticipated third album, 38 degrees, due out later this month. The band herald that as their best work to date, a statement endorsed by the select few who have heard it. Jonny hopes fans will connect with the final, namesake track: "As a band we are most proud of 38 degrees, it's a really important song."
It will be officially launched on May 25 at BearFest at the Crown and Anchor Vaults in Bishop's Castle. That will be one of the few opportunities to see the formidable four piece before they embark on their European tour in June.
The band will also line up for #ShropshireUnsigned at Theatre Severn, in Shrewsbury, on June 30 and tickets for that gig are available now, priced £5, from the venue or at www.theatresevern.co.uk.
By Dan Jones
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