‘Holy goodness, yes, absolutely I’m coming’. When your friend asks you to come see Boy & Bear play in her living room you don’t ask any questions. By some elaborate means of what I could only assume involved the occult, she had secured one of the country’s most loved and well-bearded folk outfits to perform in the comfort of her own home, and my many years of sub-par banter had somehow scored me an invite. Needless to say, there are less pleasant reasons to drive to Gosford on a Sunday afternoon.
Fresh off a coast-to-coast tour of regional Australia stretching from Albany to Rockhampton, the Sydney quintet had agreed to share one more evening of smooth folk-rock glory with an exclusive group of fifty lucky punters. Witchcraft aside, we had Parlour Gigs to thank for the opportunity, a group facilitating pop up shows in homes around the country, offering a unique live music experience for fans eager to connect with their favourite artists in a more personal setting.
Unsure of what to expect besides an appropriate array of bunting, I arrive at Chloe and Sam’s place with an open mind and a cinnamon scroll as my ticket. There’s a palpable sense of quiet anticipation filling the open lounge room as the band are setting up, there’s a cool breeze easing the December heat and the prospect of a post-gig swim in the river below is on the cards. The crew at Parlour having created a perfect atmosphere with intentionally understated decoration; not attempting to convert the house into a music venue, rather creating a feeling that the band had just popped over for a Sunday arvo jam session.
Dave Hosking and the boys ease onto the makeshift stage, commenting sheepishly on the slight awkwardness of welcoming us into someone else’s home, before launching straight into the syncopated grooves of ‘Limit of Love’, the opening and title track from their latest release. They take us on an unassuming journey through a set of refreshingly familiar tunes, the nostalgia of classic bangers such as ‘Blood to Gold’ stripped back and re-imagined for such an intimate gathering. What starts as subtle toe-tapping gradually evolves into a spontaneous dance floor as the set progresses, the pretence of a typical gig nowhere to be found.
The show draws to a close but the good times continue into the evening, catching up with old friends made sweeter by a keg of the band's own ‘All Australian Ale’ creation, kindly supplied by Sydney brewery Akasha and aptly named, 'Boy & Beer'. The guys stick around to chat with guests on the balcony, overlooking the river as the sun slowly fades – friendly and humble, they seem as chuffed with the experience as we are. Parlour are onto something special, redefining the nature of live music with a focus on community and connection to create a show I’ll remember fondly for years to come.