This was my first Minus The Bear show. I’ve known of them more from name that their songs, so I never had the urge to go see them. I heard they were playing Planet Of Ice front to back on this tour, and that piqued my interest a bit. I haven’t followed their career closely, but I know that album. They style served as a portent of things to come in indie rock a few years after its release.
So I stood in anticipation of the opening blips and whirrs that open “Burying Luck” with a room full of people much more emotionally attached to the band than myself. When the vocals finally kicked in, with the stilted delivery of “In the nightmare desert stood a building,” the crowd went wild. By the second chorus of “What have you done?” I was yelling right along with the band and the fans, harmonically and spiritually in concert with one another.
The thing that impressed me about bands that play these shows where they do a whole album is the way the music feels after a long period of time. Some groups have no problem recapturing the spirit, while others can feel empty and passionless. For Minus The Bear, it felt like the members hopped in a time machine and took us with them.
David Knudsen and Cory Murchy whipped around the stage with the swagger of a couple twenty year olds fresh to the scene. Their boundless energy pressed the music forward while Jake Snider’s vocals came off as clean and pitch perfect as they did when Planet Of Ice was released in 2007.
I’ve also been impressed by the band since the show ended. I posted a video on Instagram wondering whether the music on “White Mystery” was influenced by Bush. Knudson and Murchy both commented on the video to let me know it was actually inspired by the Nine Inch Nails Song “Only.” I hope I’m not the only one who hears a little “Comedown” in there, but I’ll take their word for it.
The concert was about 90 minutes, with the rest of the time filled in by songs from Minus The Bear’s extensive catalog. They didn’t play some of the better-titled songs like “Monkey!!!Knife!!!Fight!!!” or “Hey! Is That A Ninja Up There?” They did play some of their better songs, though. “Michio’s Death Drive” off Menos El Oso was certainly a highlight.
They did a great job of creating the atmosphere for Planet Of Ice with the backdrop and lighting, drawing everyone into the soundscape they developed eleven years ago. Their energy pulsed through the crowd and the electricity in the room was palpable. I’m not saying every record needs to be given this kind of treatment, but I’d be happy if bands did this more often for the right ones.
Setlist: Burying Luck, Ice Monster, Knights, White Mystery, Dr L’Ling, Part 2, Throwin’ Shapes, When We Escape, Double Vision Quest, Lotus
Hooray, Last Kiss, Women We Haven’t Met, Michio’s Death Drive, Secret Country, Hold Me Down, Dayglow Vista Rd
Encore: Invisible, Absinthe Party At The Fly Honey Warehouse, Pachuca Sunrise