Bear Hands Bring Their "Fake Tunes" To Chicago

Bear Hands Bring Their "Fake Tunes" To Chicago

For the past two weeks, I've been telling my family and friends about Bear Hands and their killer live set at Chicago's Beat Kitchen.

ME: "You have to see these guys. Their sound is so tight (I cue "Mr. Radioactive" on Spotify and start singing along)!"

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FAM: "What are they like?"

ME: "They're a rock band that mixes electro, dance, funk, and hip-hop, into their version of well crafted pop music. They use keys and samples to layer their spacey jams. The lead singer spits his verses like a rapper, and they have big, catchy choruses. Alternative rock, I guess."

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It's really hard to describe music. It's even harder for me to categorize Bear Hands.

That's why I started a thread and invited 17 people. Brian and I were the only brave souls who came out on a Sunday night to party with this band.

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With each and every record, Bear Hands has continued to grow, in leap and bounds. Their latest record Fake Tunes is their best to date, and they've just landed a huge opening slot for Twenty One Pilots, a spot that should give them a LOT of new eyeballs.

Before they head out on the road to claim superstardom, we get up close and personal with these new tunes, and they don't disappoint.

They open with "Spirit Guide (Back Seat Driver)," a song which has been my anthem for almost a year now. I wrote about it here when I asked: Where Is The New Bear Hands Record?

Released well before Fake Tunes, it was a sign of things to come. In my humble opinion, it's the pinnacle of their career. Btw, when a band opens up with their best song you know their catalog is deep.

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They up the ante with more new music, "Mr. Radioactive," a pop masterpiece that has the makings of a hit single, and should be all over the radio right now. It intros with big, bouncy, bass lines, and we're off on a tale where the protagonist gets kicked out of the world's happiest place?

Back away from the asshole/Ejected from magic castle
I don't know why, I don't know when/Mr. Radioactive strikes again
Back away from the asshole/Before we lose half Manhattan
I don't know why, I don't know when/Mr. Radioactive strikes again

Not sure if lead singer Dylan Rau is the radioactive "asshole," but on this night he seems confident and well behaved. Slinking across the stage, introducing us to several new dance moves, he's comfortable in his own skin. Much of that poise is owed to the tight battery of musicians playing behind him, including drummer TJ Orscher, bassist Val Loper, and touring guitarist Alex Marans.

Throughout the night we are introduced to more Fake Tunes. "Blue Lips," "Ignoring the Truth," and "Reptilians," all sound fresh to the ear.

On "Ignoring the Truth" Rau gets a chance to show off those mic skills, "Textin' every kid on the block if you got a shot/Everyone say "Yeah, yeah, man we got you." He really has created his own style of pop-rap, merging it into whatever form of rock they are playing, and it just works so well.

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From the Burning Bush album, we get "Blood and Treasure," and "What A Drag." But where the fuck was "Crime Pays?"

From Distraction, we get "Agora," "Bone Digger," and that song that put them on the map, "Giants." But, where the fuck was "Sleeping On The Floor?"

From You'll Pay For This we get "Boss," "Marathon Man," "Winner's Circle," and my co-pilot Brian's favorite song, "I Won't Pay!" But, where the fuck was "Deja Vu?"

They have a lot of hits to play. You will most likely leave the show not hearing one of your favorite songs because they've written so much quality material. Hence the reason I started yelling, "2 AM," early and often. Oh yeah, they played that as well, and it FUCKING ROCKED! I would say it was the crowd favorite of the night.

They close with "Giants" and I'm convinced there is no better band to see live right now. To the 15 others on the thread that didn't go: time to get hip you knuckleheads.

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Now let's grab that vinyl.

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