Written By: Damian Robinson
The Gig: Hunter and the Bear
Venue: Trillians, Newcastle
Almost thirty years ago Bill Hicks released a TV Special (remember those!?) railing against rock stars who endorsed products; the core message being that the dignity of a musician was too important to be traded for money.
As fans, we’re still not sure if we want to see a new tour being sponsored by Monster energy drinks or pictures of our favourite artist sitting with aspirational goods such as Mercedes Benz’s or Veuve Clicquot.
Whilst the world has changed considerably since Hick’s testimony, particularly in relation to the collapse of the pay-to-listen music business model, there is still some trepidation from most music purists about the relationship between music and endorsements.
To music fans, and personally I’m happy to be tarred with the un-cool label of being a ‘purist’, who your favourite act chooses to get into bed with matters. If the music of your favourite artist connects to who you perceive yourself to be, then so too does almost everything else that artist chooses to do. Perhaps it shouldn’t, but being a popular artist comes with a lot of responsibility.
In support of the release of their debut album ‘Paper Heart’, Scottish/North East rock outfit Hunter and the Bear were included as part of Hobgoblin Beers ‘Unsung Heroes’ tour - a tour which provided opportunities for local, ‘grass-roots’ bands to showcase their new material.
The Bear themselves played emotional soft rock in the style of Biffy Clyro - if you’re a fan of that style of music then these will be a band to watch out for. Focused on power chords and soaring choruses, the Bears have some rock anthems right up their sleeves and perhaps none more so than track ‘Paper Heart’. They play fast music characterised by the non-stop motion of intense lead guitarist, Jimmy Hunter.
Thankfully, this is the type of endorsement that even Bill might have been okay with; essentially offering a stage and a platform for talented bands to play. Fair play to Hobgoblin for providing an opportunity that was respectful to the bands rather than all about themselves.