Photos by Elizabeth Mitaro
Inside the Delancey and down a flight of stairs, shielded from the season’s first snowfall and the chaos of cars exiting the Williamsburg Bridge, Mama Bear
’s brand of swinging pop-folk commanded the venue. In this hideaway, the Brooklyn-based band managed to serve up their uncomplicated feel-good sound in full. This random Monday evening was filled with the kind of tunes that make you want to dance (and maybe even hold hands).
Making the most of the moment seems key in the Mama Bear aesthetic. They took advantage of this, effortlessly enjoying every moment they were up there. Even “Old Man Trouble,” a more serious number, was carried off with the band’s characteristic warmth. “Heavy Lifting,” a newer song, provided a nice change up with its markedly intricate progression of chords.
Apart from the appeal of twang-dashed melodies, the performance was also fueled by Mama Bear’s big fuzzy personality. The wacky banter between band members, always met with amusement from the sizable crowd, covered topics ranging from Hello Kitty manicure sets to their 2010 EP, How We Go. “Don’t ask us about it later,” lead vocalist Victoria Sounthavong jokingly added.
It also seemed to be a BYO-waterskin sort of night. Despite the two-for-one drink specials, guitarist Dale Pittner repeatedly took swings from a bladder-like water receptacle that took its own place on the stage. Drummer Tim Van Horn joined in, splashing it down his shirt. “Is that water Dale? Water of the Gods,” laughed Sounthavong. It proved a clearly necessary item to accompany them all the way from Bushwick.
“Tuff Stuff” closed out the set list, ending the night on an energetic note. Though the set had its flaws, imperfection seems to be an important part of the Mama Bear charm. Back up the stairs, through the doors and into the cold, a blanket of snow initiated the crowd back into the real world.