Bella and the Bear, Stanley Odd at CCA, 2/10/15

Their first EP proved to be a splendid mix of soul that gained much acclaim earlier this year; after a summer of memorable performances and a SAMAs best newcomer’s nomination (which they have since won) under their belt Lauren Gilmore and Stuart Ramage take on Bella and the Bear’s next chapter with new EP A Girl Called Bella and also the showcase of their short film to spur on this special time for the duo.

With the doors pushed back the seats fill up quick as 2/6 of hip hop group Stanley Odd open up the night.

With just an acoustic guitar, a fair difference to their usual set up, they start with ‘Chase Yirself’ and already the stripped back performance captivates the audience.

With some banter and stories to tell frontman Solareye (aka Dave Hook) gets a great response from the audience, with his distinctive dialog rapping about people, politics and circumstances that our society know to well.

Assumingly most of the audience they have never seen Stanley Odd perform with this set up, but it goes down great and adds a personal touch to start the night for Bella and the Bear.
The lights dim and for a few seconds we can prepare ourselves for something exceptional.

“Once upon another time, there was a girl. A girl with dark eyes and a brave heart. A girl whose imagination danced. She created a place where dragons were friends and elephants sang her to sleep.”

Gilmore’s voice eases over the sound of the melancholy guitar introducing us to A Girl Called Bella.

A strong narrative with the debut of their new EP they tell the charming tale of Bella and the fairy tale world that she has made her own through the use Bafta award winning Ian Henderson’s vivid and enchanting cinematic piece.

As we see Bella creating, exploring and paying no mind to those around her, Gilmore and Ramage start to introduce us to the sweet sound the EP.

Sitting on the recurring old chic sofa the duo can entrance us with the intricate refined styling of the guitar with raw soulful vocals; they have an authenticity to their sound and mesmerise us with their flawless lyricism.

Once Upon a Time had wholesomeness to it much like Bella’s innocence- but A Girl Called Bella beckons our attention with a poignant sound with more truth and realism to the stories they tell us.

The film grips the audience and is emotional, even if that isn’t the intention.

With the occasional spoken word, Bella and the Bear sing about culture, society, anguish, sanguinity and power as we see a young Bella grow up.

With their story nearing its end, guest performers make a notable appearance before A Girl Called Bella comes to a close.

Visually their film is outstanding; it captivates the vision and imagination with a blatantly strong and sincere performance from both Gilmore and Ramage.

With dangling umbrellas filled with fairy lights above the stage and with a band in tow, Bella and the Bear make their way to the stage to a momentous amount of cheers.

With some older songs like ‘Red Dragon’ and ‘Trapped’ played, we hear them in a way like never before with the band adding an edgier element to the songs we have become so familiar with.

It’s not hard to see the definite bold passion and love the duo share on stage with each other.

The band leave the stage after some songs and we get to experience the familiar intimate and connected set that never becomes old.

A night of buoyant surprises and changes, Gilmore takes to the piano and Ramage showcases his vocal capability unlike any other songs; they have mastered impeccable musicianship skills and with their bond it is all the more enjoyable to watch.

They have so many people to thank, and so much gratitude to everyone who turned up tonight; Lauren Gilmore tells us that a year ago Bella and the Bear did not exist, they had never wrote a song together, and it really comes to light what has happened the last few months as they play the first song they ever wrote together ‘Leave It Out’.

It’s been a whirlwind couple of months full of success so far, but tonight is really just the kick-start of Bella and the Bear’s evidential future triumphs.

With hard work, talent, originality and a real authenticness Bella and the Bear have entered the music world and become irreplaceable in the Scottish scene; expect great things in the next year from Lauren and Stuart.

Words: Olivia Campbell


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