The lyrics of Lion Bear Fox peel back the layers of the human existence with music that transitions from bombastic and high, sometimes edging on gospel and other times rock, to whispery, gentle and quiet.

Lion Bear Fox to prowl Campbell River’s Tidemark Theatre

Vancouver Island’s own Lion Bear Fox makes the Tidemark Theatre their den for one night only, Oct. 6.

Christopher Arruda (Lion), Cory Woodward (Bear) and Ryan McMahon (Fox – and originally from Victoria), have been playing together since 2012 when Lion Bear Fox was formed.

Their lyrics peel back the layers of the human existence with music that transitions from bombastic and high, sometimes edging on gospel and other times rock, to whispery, gentle and quiet. What is revealed is a raw truth take us on a journey to the other side of life’s most challenging times. Whether it be self-judgments, abuse, addictions or mental illness, their music shows us that there is still an opportunity to shine.

“I have a brand-new life every morning when I wake up,” says Woodward. “Life is nothing but existence, nothing but one continuous learning opportunity. There’s no manual or booklet for your own life. The vulnerability is the ingredient in life that will save us all.”

Woodward says he was ‘at risk’ his entire youth but thinks the term is loose and doesn’t accurately capture the range or depth of what many youths experience. He developed coping mechanisms that didn’t align with his mental or physical well-being. Counselling was not accepted in the blue-collar environment he grew up in. Music was, and still is, his release. This cathartic aspect of their music is something the Lion, Bear and Fox all share.

“I think we’re in a time of shiny,” says McMahon, referring specifically to social media. “We’re in a time of glossing over a lot of things. Good art used to communicate and speak on the tough issues. Very rarely do we see that now. All of us as writers, aspire to be good artists and good art comments on the difficulties of the human experience.”

When McMahon was in Grade 10, in the small community of Ladysmith where he lives now with his family, a friend committed suicide. He says he grew up overnight, that childhood was over. That’s when he began to write.

“When I hear about hardships, and speak to them,” he says, “it makes me feel more human. It’s okay to feel this way. I feel this way too. We’re trying to start a dialogue, and that’s important to us.”

For Arruda, the Lion, to shine means to live to your purpose and to experience the myriad of human emotions. “When I was a kid,” he says upon reflection of his checkered past, “It was hearing music that made me feel like I was part of something. I crave being on stage. It’s just you and the people who are there. The moment exists only at that time, and it’s magical. When it hits and works, I don’t think there’s anything better.”

Arruda also points out that when he was a kid, men weren’t talking like this.

“There’s a big sea change in our culture,” he says. “For the men out there, there’s a different way of being, especially with the #MeToo movement. There’s a different way of being masculine. It doesn’t have to be the jock or the geek. We can get rid of the stigma of having to be the tough guy. We can shine.”

The Shine Tour, Coast to Coast, with The Lion, Bear, Fox, hits the Tidemark Theatre in Campbell River on Oct. 6. From there, the boys head to the other Canadian coast for performances in Halifax, Moncton and Saint John.

For a chance to win a pair of tickets to their Tidemark performance, visit the Campbell River Mirror’s Facebook page and watch for our ticket giveaway announcement.