The Detroit area has been buzzing over the past few weeks in high anticipation of indie group Minus the Bear making a stop in town on their current tour. The Seattle based band is in the process of promoting their forth full-length album, Omni, and played at the infamous St. Andrew’s Hall on April 25th, to much enthusiasm from local fans.
I was introduced to Minus The Bear back in 2005 with their second LP Menos el Oso, which brought them their real first significant claim to fame. Though a follower of their music over the past 5 years, I have not had the opportunity of seeing the band play live: an event I’ve been told is a must-see.
Openers Young the Giant and Everest did a good job at keeping the crowd entertained and were catchy enough, but not quite enough to distinguish one song from another after they left the stage. Through a sea of plaid shirts and cigarette smoke, you could see the crowd begin to get restless in anticipation of the headliners. When Minus the Bear finally took the stage, you could tell how much energy the crowd had been holding back until this point.
Known for their quirky time signatures, and the monotone lyrical skills of front man Jake Snider, I was surprised at how high energy the band was, as I’ve always known them for their peaceful, ambient sound. I was also surprised by the amount of electronics incorporated into their set; synthesizers and a killer light show really gave the show that little something extra. Omni seems to be the most mainstream friendly and upbeat of the Minus the Bear LPs, and hearing selections from it that night was really my first introduction to the new music. I look forward to hearing more now that the album is out in stores. It seems I was behind the times, however, as most already seemed more than familiar with the new Minus the Bear sound, as well as all of the lyrics.
The crowd also rocked out to some classic Minus the Bear, as the band played many selections from Planet of Ice, Menos el Moso and rounded out their set with “Absinthe Party at the Fly Honey Warehouse” off of 2002’s Highly Refined Pirates, the group’s first full length.
Overall, the crowd walked away seemingly satisfied, never losing energy throughout the entirety of the show. Minus the Bear seems to share a certain calm chemistry with its fans; a chemistry where the show goers can be laid back but still fully into the music. I believe I have now jumped on the bandwagon as a Minus the Bear live-show endorser.