Show Review: Emily Bear at Cafe 939 (11/8)

On Friday night, Emily Bear captivated a loyal audience of friends, family, and fans that filled the room at Café 939. On tour promoting her new Emotions EP, Emily Bear reinvented the atmosphere of Cafe 939 in a way that was uniquely her own. 

From beginning to end, Bear immediately broke down the walls that separate the artist from the audience with her casual demeanor and charming personality, converting strangers into fans. With every song came personal stories with themes ranging from feeling the pain of heartbreak to owning that same pain and repurposing it in a positive way. She moved the audience with these stories, illustrating them with transparency proving her emotional depth.

One of the most interesting elements of Emily’s performance was the way she utilized her classical piano background to compliment her more contemporary pop songs. With the support of her band (Max Gerl, Kyle Thornton, and Nathan Hicks), her swift piano phrases merged effortlessly with her rich voice. As the show progressed, the intimate nature of the performance was heightened by the distinct chemistry Emily had with her band. During every solo, each band member displayed their reverence for one another, flashing faces of approval as if in a jam session. Some of my favorite moments involved her moving from the center stage keyboard to the grand piano that hung back with the band. It was special to witness her pouring all her energy into complex classical arrangements after being astonished by the tremendous piano skills she maintained while singing her original music. 

The room was especially impressed by her rendition of Elvis Presley’s, “I Can’t Help Falling in Love With You,” and The Beach Boys’, “God Only Knows,” showcasing her voice in a way unlike any of the other songs. Throughout the show, Emily progressively proved her songwriting prowess, with every original sounding different from the last. Her capabilities were even more notable when she sang a new original called “Ghosted” that she had only performed once the night before. With relatable lyrical content that elevated in the pre-chorus atop a bassline driven arrangement, “Ghosted” is a strong representation of Emily Bear’s songwriting chops.

 With an exceedingly high level of talent and character, Emily Bear is down-to-earth and carries herself with grace, possessing the potential to command the world stage. As an experienced musician, songwriter, and vocalist, she brings a heavy arsenal to the table and is able to wear a lot of hats. The capability she has to achieve greatness was apparent at her show on Friday and I hope to see more from her in the future.