Bears, The - Live At The Club Caf

Year of Release: 2004
Label: Merging Media
Catalog Number: n/a
Format: DVD
Total Time: 00:00:00

Adrian Belew is one of the most revered guitar players in the world yet his is not a household name like Clapton, Page or Hendrix. In my opinion, his voice is as recognizable and unique as his guitar playing. He has chosen to live a life out of the spotlight and remain in the background assisting such artist as Frank Zappa, David Bowie, Mariah Carey and countless others (see website for discography). I think he made a good choice, as his peace of mind and lifestyle are surely more private in comparison to those folks I just mentioned. His work most recently with King Crimson is exemplary and his band The Bears just keeps rolling right along.

The Bears are an interesting story. They met each other as children and grew up together playing in various bands and still record to this day. I cannot think of too many groups that started like that and are still together, actually I cannot think of one.

In this age of technology and the Internet, an artist must stay on top of what's hot and what's not, and record their music in non-traditional methods utilizing home studios and small venues while still making their output accessible via the web for their fans. Enter upstart companies like Merging Media, a company founded by experienced Internet entrepreneurs and digital media professionals to provide both consumers and businesses with quality multimedia content. Artists are finding the venue to be set up intimately in a professional manner with all the accommodations for a fantastic recoding of their performance, thereby enabling a smooth transfer to DVD for distribution.

Live At The Club Cafe is their first release on DVD and it features The Bears with their legendary guitarist Adrian Belew. I do not use the term legend loosely - Belew may not be recognized worldwide like many of his contemporaries; however, he is a legend to his peers and many intelligent music lovers, he in fact epitomizes the word legend. He is well-known innovator and pioneer of experimental guitar sounds.

The Bears make their way through some of their best tracks for an appreciative and exuberant crowd at the Club Cafe. Their sound reminded me of Joe Jackson and The Talking Heads with a decidedly progressive alternative slant with pop around the fringes, which is not unlike the style of those bands. All members sing very well, Belew, Chris Arduser (drums, vocals, mandolin), Rob Fetters (guitar and vocals) and Bob Nyswonger (bass), which makes their sound diverse and entertaining. They keep it fresh by mixing it up, if one of them is not singing lead the other two are harmonizing beautifully. The only member that does not contribute vocals on this set is Nyswonger. Most notably, he plays the standup bass for most of the songs.

All of these elements combine to form quirky, original rock-pop songs that are vital and refreshing; in fact, I think live, this band cooks on all four burners. I really enjoyed every song tremendously. The camera work was professional and the sound is excellent. The bonus features treat you to interviews with the band members and a personal tour of Belew's home studio, all capped by a great concert. This is a superb DVD; I hope many artists will discover this venue soon and find success recording their music the independent way without meddling labels interfering with their creative processes. It's all here in one dynamite package ready for your listening and viewing pleasure.

None Of The Above / Honey Bee / 117 Valley Drive / Superboy / When She Moves / Dave / Trust / Safe In Hell / Life In A Nutshell / Mr. Bonaparte / Under The Volcano / Success / Little Blue River / Red / Aches And Pains / Complicated Potatoes / Figure It Out / Caveman / Fear Is Never Boring / Man Behind The Curtain

* Includes bonus interview footage, Plus take a tour of Adrian Belew's Home Studio

Adrian Belew - guitar and vocals
Chris Arduser - drums, vocals, mandolin
Bob Nyswonger - bass
Rob Fetters - guitar and vocals

The Bears (1987)
Rise And Shine (1988)
Car Caught Fire (2001)
The Bears Live (2002)

Live At The Club Cafe (DVD) (2004)

Genre: Other

Origin UK

Added: June 7th 2004
Reviewer: Keith "Muzikman" Hannaleck
Artist website:
Hits: 976
Language: english


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