REVIEW: Tim Hart (Boy & Bear) @ Yours & Owls

Words by Amelia Caddy

There are only a special few people in this world who can successfully couple the simplest of lyrics with an unassuming guitar riff and produce something worth listening to. Tim Hart, otherwise known as the drummer and backing vocalist for indie folk band Boy & Bear, is one of them.

While perhaps not the most obvious pick out of the five B&B boys to start a solo singer/songwriter career, Hart’s deep voice and surprising guitar skills are seeing him win a following for his folky ballads, reminiscent of Don McLean.

New Zealander and long time mate of Hart’s, Luke Thompson opened the show for the night, setting the mood with some acoustic guitar and a soothing voice. Sounding a bit like an early James Taylor (though not quite as catchy) Thompson played a solid set, sadly lost on an almost empty room at this early stage in the night.

Up next is 20 year-old Patrick James, one of the best young voices I’ve heard recently, and someone to keep an eye on. His smooth, rich voice, and easy stage-presence made him an instant win with the (now growing) crowd. Ironically, songs like ‘Carry On’ and ‘County Song’ suggest stripped down versions of a few of Boy & Bear’s songs, complete with banjo and all.

A short wait, and Hart takes the stage in front of a now packed room – clearly he already has some fans here from his previous show two months ago. Yet, despite having dabbled in solo work for a while, this, Architects, is his first solo tour.

“I have to admit to you right now, I am a chronic recycler of stage talk. So I apologize to those who’ve seen me before,” he starts off, before launching into his first songs.

His comically awkward stage banter is just enough to offset the overall sombre mood of his music. After having warmed up the crowd he warns us, “Yeahhhh, so, I’m just going to play some depressing stuff now…”

‘So come the rain’ is the story of typical Australian hardships. As Hart sings of devastating floods –‘so come the rains, to destroy the work of our hands’ – he shows for the first time in the night the extent of his skill; deftly picking away at his guitar with lightening speed, whilst travelling the full highs and lows of his impressive vocal range. This impression is intensified two songs later as Hart picks up his 12-string, handling it with ease for a tongue-in-cheek song about Thompson called ‘Outlaw’.

By this stage the awed crowd has been hushed into a contented silence, and Hart moves into his softer stuff. He finishes up the night with ‘Not mine for the asking’, a soft, minimalistic song offering surprisingly intimate lyrics. As he signs off with the hanging question – “I’m a church boy near 30, will I ever grow wise?” – the crowd breaks into rapturous applause. Hart, humble as ever, gives a grin and a genuine vote of thanks to the crowd for supporting live music.

Anytime, Mr Hart, anytime.

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