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Every so often you can be lucky enough to find yourself in the right place to witness something out of the ordinary.  Seeing Bare In The Woods on last Saturday at the Club Academy in Manchester, was for me, such an occasion.

Bare In The Woods are based in Leeds at the moment, though the lead guitarist and drummer of the band originally come from Manchester while the lead singer/guitarist and bassist come from Liverpool and Derby respectively.  Tonight’s gig was a dress rehearsal for a string of dates the band are playing in Seattle in the first weeks of July, so they launch into their first song ‘Bare Faced Liar’ with a missionary zeal.  For the next half hour the band drives through their set with confidence and focus and although in part the band struggle with poor sound, they possess a cache of songs memorable enough to still shine.

It’s humble sorcery that turns bad experiences into good lyrics, and nowhere is this more noticeable than on the song ‘Caught in the Prelude’ which tightly wraps sweet sounding chords, a snaking bassline, and bittersweet words around a skeletal beat.  However like all great songs the resultant whole is much more than the sum of its parts and it elicits loud whoops of appreciation from the small crowd because it contains that elusive ingredient; soul.  ‘Caught in the Prelude’ isn’t the only highpoint of the bands set, the crunching ‘Switch of the Pioneer’ and the glistening set closer ‘Heart and Soul’ both scale similar peaks,  but for me that song stood tallest.

Music should be a positive experience whether it’s joyful, restorative or cathartic, and it really is heartening to see tantalising glimpses of a band that though still rough around the edges, aspire to be all of these things. 

Bare In The Woods; definitely ones to watch

Review & photos by Phil King