McDowell Mountain Music Festival Live Performance Review –

The last of the local acts on Friday’s bill was Bear Ghost on the second stage, and they were just beyond amazing. It’s always refreshing – in part because it’s rare – to see a group of musicians as talented as the members of Bear Ghost applying that musicianship to arrangements as outrageously inventive as the best of their material in a way that’s entertaining for the players and the audience alike. I wrote “This is like watching Queen as arranged by Frank Zappa” in my notebook during “Necromancin’ Dancin’.”

Then they turned around and covered Queen’s “Don’t Stop Me Now.” Doing a song Freddie Mercury sang is a fool’s errand, really. But Thomas Knight nailed it in a truly awe-inspiring display of vocal talent. They also turned in a crowd-pleasing cover of “I Wanna Be Like You” from Disney’s “Jungle Book,” one of several songs that had guitarist Ryan Abel, whose enthusiasm was beyond contagious, spinning in circles on one leg, and “Island Swing” from Donkey Kong because that’s just the kind of wildly entertaining guys they are. If you haven’t seen them live, it’s time you did yourself a favor.

Bear Ghost at McDowell Mountain Music Festival
Bear Ghost performs on the second stage at the McDowell Mountain Music Festival on March 3, 2017. (Photo: Hannah Gaber/The Republic)