Tom Shields with Standing Bear

413-433-4835 (phone/text)

standingbearband.com

Booking now for Breweries, Bars, Restaurants, Private Parties, Festivals...
 
Don Caslyn on fiddle adds color and vibrancy.
Andy Kowal  on bass guitar brings a punk attitude to the jam.



Kevin Cahill on keys adds melody and soul.  
AAAsAs 
Tom Shields is a singer/songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, and the performer of Original songs, Celtic, & all things Rock-n-Roll.   Well-known for his passionate and dynamic performances, Tom is available as a soloist, with accompaniment... or a full band.   Standing Bear, is a "fun and spirited jam band...popular on the brewery and festival circuit" (Westfield Artworks, July 2018). 

"Standing Bear... is a self-professed and exuberantly proclaimed Classic Rock / Jam Band.  The concept of 'Jam' is the unifying element, or the thread of a theme running through this whole omni-genre escapade. This is something like how tracking Neil Young  thru the years will produce an overview of styles, from rockabilly right on up thru the decades, hitting on every kind of "Rock" music along the way. And most times, a similar hippie-punk-ish kind of 'tude will also manifest in ways that demonstrate the decade-times from whence it came.  Their manner on stage suggests theyve spent some time doing this, in one place or another, one band or another, while the Bear's exact personnel can be fairly fluid." (The Dusty Turntable, November 2017)


Standing Bear Review:

I guess I didnt know what to expect. Therefore, with no expectations, disappointment should be impossible. Right? Um, not necessarily- have ya met ME? There are, in the world, a certain number of us who can put a dark and dismal damper on just about ANYthing. Now, in this case, its more a matter of invigoration than any kind of sinking spirits. Im kinda diggin' it! 

Standing Bear, or Standing Bear Band, or Standing Bear Jam Band (put a 'the' in front of all that and the number of possible combinations will increase exponentially), is a self-professed and exhuberantly proclaimed Classic Rock / Jam Band. That makes them a combination or integration of at least two genres, as 'jam' means something in particular, which is to say, generally following in the Dead tradtition. Best example is prolly Phish. For me, I'll take Twiddle. If you like the free-form art-form but youre old-school otherwise, or if you are one who understands Tradition and Respect (which is in fact a lot of kids these days), then the Grateful Dead is the Gold Standard... obviously.

BUT I have a twist for you: Neil Young... speaking of twisted... he is the link that cant be missed. Think about it. Has anyone else ever been as perpetually cool and respected- well, valued and appreciated anyway; and who but Weird Neil gets to stand on the outside so distincly while he exchanges ideas and acheives profound success in the mainstream? He has his spread of styles, no doubt there, but if ya love him just for one or another, and ya wish he'd stay in his own track... and IF the Neil you like is the hard-rocking, proto-punk, grandfather of the grungy garage sound... 

Enter Standing Bear. And/or The S.B.Band. whatever. They are making a hell of an impression on one humble scribe, I tell ya whut... After the first couple of NY tunes, I wondered if this was a Neil Young cover or tribute band. The mostly-front-guy even kinda looks like Old Mr Young. But younger, of course (and how could he not?). Sounds a good bit like him too, if ya like that sort of thing. But no, they mix it up with a variety. Here at the Waterfront, of course, any band is gonna pull out the stops and play up their wild side. 

The concept of 'Jam' is the unifying element, or the thread of a theme running through this whole omni-genre escapade. This is something like how tracking Neil thru the years will produce an overview of styles, from rockabiilly right on up thru the decades, hitting on every kind of "Rock" music along the way. And most times, a similar hippie-punk-ish kind of 'tude will also manifest in ways that demonstrate the decade-times from whence it came.

The concept of a 'guitar band' is clearly at the fore here, too- or it is tonight, at any rate. Other times, they might have a sax or two, or a rack of keyboards and a body to play 'em. These guys aint whatcha call kids; we can be sure they are able to take whatever comes, chew it up and spit out something for listening. 

The only other time Id seen Standing Bear, it was a decidedly different dynamic, for sure. It mighta been half a year ago; they did a quick set before Dead Collective at The Still in Agawam. That night, they were entirely acoustic, way loose, and very Dead-y. A perfect pairing, in fact. And likewise tonight, it seems like the two bands oughtta just follow each other around and share their common amalgam of peace, love and rock'n'roll, plus jam and grunge.

Standing Bear's website indicates that they tend to adapt their output according to the situation at hand. These two times I seen 'em, the difference is like the best schizoid fun ever. It looks, too, from the website, like theyve been around and they get around. Their manner on stage suggests theyve spent some time doing this, in one place or another, one band or another, while the Bear's exact personnel can be fairly fluid.

Paul Conz on drums and percussion is beat of the band.
"Jam bands like Standing Bear take familiar tunes, often from the sixties and seventies, and alter them with their own nuances, interpretations, and spontaneous musical improvements... "