Review: Minus the Bear At The Comet, 8/27

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Minus the Bear, Photos by Amber Zbitnoff

Mondays in Seattle – no, Mondays anywhere – aren’t known for their magnitude. In fact, there’s a song depicting how manic the first day of the work week can be. So, imagine my surprise, as I contemplate how incredible my Monday was. Last night, I got my mind blown and my ear drums tangled around Minus the Bear. Yes, the Seattle band you know and love played a “secret” show to celebrate the release of their latest album, Infinity Overhead (out today). And as if the night wasn’t special enough, all the proceeds went towards Marriage Equality. Pretty cool, huh? Seattle musicians make me proud.

I’m sort of at at loss to explain how this show began and ended, and not due to too many PBRs. Seeing a band this important to so many Seattlites, in a venue that is, dare I say, sort of hallowed ground to local music fans new and old, left me feeling like everything was right in the world. If just for a few hours.

It seemed to me that Minus the Bear’s most loyal fans were shoulder to shoulder with me during their performance. Standing next to a speaker, I had no problem hearing the lyrics to each and every song sung by Jake Snider, but had the sound blown and Snider’s voice been unable to stun my ear drums, the many, many fans surrounding me could have filled in verse after verse. This is a band whose fans may not eat up each and every album they release, but they’re damn loyal.

I think growing up with a band instills that unwavering adoration in us – when you hear a group in your formative music years, you’ll jump at a chance to support them. Or at least that was the impression I had. Before the show, I as always eavesdropped into the conversations around me. And while the reviews of the Bear’s latest album may have been mixed, the die-hard love for this band was anything but. People want to see Minus the Bear succeed, and the second they took the stage, any hesitation dissipated and the band was met with a roar so seldom received from Seattle concert goers.

As you can probably tell from the set list above, the songs the band chose to play were pulled rather heavily from the latest album, but veteran fans didn’t seem disappointed by this one bit. Throughout the set, the crowd’s energy didn’t waver. It of course picked up noticeably during old favorites like ‘Into The Mirror,’ ‘Throwing Shapes,’ and an encore with the amazing ‘Pachuca Sunrise,’ with people throughout the venue falling to happy pieces with each familiar riff. One thing I think that is important to note if you’re a fan and not completely sold on the latest album – don’t write the new stuff off until you’ve seen it live.

While many have said that MtB’s new record simply isn’t what they were hoping for, played live it truly is something to marvel at. The twists and turns of the guitar are met with a heavy baseline, and the keys are a crown jewel of this band. However, as I haven’t seen this band live before, I need to give a huge nod to drummer Erin Tate. Throughout the entire set, my eyes were glued to him – this band wouldn’t be half of what it is without his mesmerizing stick work. I could honestly go on, and on, and on about him and what he adds, but I’ll spare you.

To put it most bluntly, everything about this gang of guys in a live setting is in a word: impressive. But, I’m not surprised.  A band with this sort of lifespan hasn’t lasted due to the blind love of their fans. They’re incredibly talented, and their newer material demonstrates that, especially live where it’s not as easily noticed what is old and what is new. The talent and the fervor is there in a huge way, and if you weren’t impressed last night, you should have given your ticket to one of the many turned away at the doors.

 

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