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Viva La Bear are a band on the up

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Author: Thomas Hadfield, Posted: Friday, 31st January 2020, 09:00

Viva La Bear at last year’s Frogfest. Photo: Jonny Nolan Photography Viva La Bear at last year’s Frogfest. Photo: Jonny Nolan Photography

Gloucestershire band Viva La Bear have been together for coming up two years.

The band is made up of Tom Vickery, Steve Brown, Vince Stevenson, Tom Gibbons and Alex Whiting, who all originally hail from the Forest of Dean.

“We met through mutual friends within the local music scene,” said lead singer Tom Vickery.

“Steve and Tom G were in a band together at school called The Artisans which then evolved a few years later into another project involving me on vocals.

“It sort of just fell in to place as Vince was living with Tom at the time and Alex is one of the best drummers around and we all had similar music tastes.”

Tom G joined the band most recently, on rhythm guitar, whilst Vince plays bass and Steve is on guitar.

The name Viva La Bear is certainly memorable, and Tom says it pays tribute to a famous Forest of Dean story, and echoes their love of the area.

“We all come from this area and are proud of our roots,” he explained.

“Some of us are bringing up families here and it’s an important place to all of us. I think we all wanted something that reflected that, so it comes from local folklore. If you know, you know.”

The band describe their style as ‘riff-heavy alternative rock’, and regularly play gigs in the area, and in places like Cheltenham, Gloucester and Bristol.

Tom continued: “I guess we’re an amalgamation of all our influences, mostly 2000s Alt Rock/Emo. So we blend elements from Placebo/Smashing Pumpkins to Taking Back Sunday and the like.

“Music has played a big part in all our lives, growing up with the likes of Hendrix and Led Zeppelin from our parent’s collection to 90s Rock we grew with. I guess it all gets mixed in subconsciously.”

The band has been busy in the past few months, working on new songs – “We’ve got three singles recorded at Invada Studios in Bristol to release throughout 2020 and we’re working closely with MAS Records to give us the best opportunities possible,” added Tom.

This month they will be supporting Bellevue Days at the Frog and Fiddle on Saturday 15th February, with many more gigs set to be announced.

“We’ve been known for our energetic live performances,” said Tom, “it’s just a cathartic release for us.”

“Whether there’s 2 or 200 people in the room we give it our all and show off everything we’ve got.”

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