A Rough Guide To...'Bear' bands

Depending on your perspective, bears are either majestic, salmon-scoffing beasts of the wild; hirsute homosexual gentlemen with a fondness for leather; or - given the wealth of evidence - the go-to animal to name your band after. Following on from Metallica's decision to dress up as bears for their Glastonbury festival intro film, here’s our handy guide to the various Bear bands you should know and the variety of sounds that they make.


Try not to be too monumentally irritated by the fact that this bear band doesn’t believe in spaces – the squishing together of all of those words in their name is actually reasonably symbolic for the kind of breathless brutality presented in their technical hardcore. If you feel like making your ears bleed, you can catch the Louisiana quintet tonight in London at the Borderline.

Bear Vs Shark

This magnificent post-hardcore quintet from Michigan lasted just four years, releasing two albums and one EP through Equal Vision Records. Guitarist/bassist John Gaviglio told Absolute Punk in 2005 that the band called itself Bear Vs Shark because: “We just thought it was super badass and sounded interesting. It’s pretty memorable too.” (Might be even more memorable if there weren’t so many other bloody bear bands around… Just sayin’…)

Minus the Bear

Emo pop-rockers Minus the Bear have been making dreamy and oft-danceable anthems for over 12 years now – brand new track The Lucky Ones just hit Soundcloud, and sixth full-length, Lost Loves, will be out in October, through Dangerbird Records. Frontman Jake Snider told Spin magazine in 2010 that the Seattle quintet’s name came from a dirty joke: “A friend of the band had gone on a date and one of us asked him afterwards how the date went. Our friend said, ‘You know that TV show from the ‘70s, B.J. and The Bear? It was like that minus the bear.’” Lovely.

Bear Hands

Having recently signed to Warner Brothers Europe, you’ll probably be hearing a lot more from these multi-faceted indie-rockers in the near future – especially since this Brooklyn quartet (who recently released excellent second album, Distraction) has a sound far more complex and interesting than your average indie outfit. The band play Reading and Leeds festivals next week.


Having raised merry Hell on the Warped tour, this metalcore troupe fronted by former Attack Attack! man Caleb Shomo will be in the UK for five shows next month. The Columbus, Ohio band have been making new friends recently due to their wildly energetic live performances and the strength of the songwriting on their Disgusting album.

Huggy Bear

If the UK had any kind of riot grrrl scene, it was largely focused around this Brighton quintet, whose profile was raised considerably after touring with Bikini Kill in 1992. The feminist outfit was short-lived, however, only releasing one full-length in their three-year career. Which is a shame, because when they were at their peak, anarchy followed them everywhere. In one particularly memorable incident, the band performed on late-night Channel 4 cult show, The Word, and were thrown out after abusing the presenter over the programme’s more sexist material. Legend has it that someone in their crew bit the face of someone on The Word’s crew.


This super-heavy quartet, hailing from Antwerp, Belgium, didn’t even bother to elaborate when they were naming their hardcore band – it’s just BEAR. Which is a magnificent fuck you to anyone trying to keep track of them online. If you’re into the sheer weight of bands like Dillinger Escape Plan and Converge, don’t let this bear pass you by.