Minus the Bear
I'm not really one for concerts where I feel as if I should have done MDMA before I went. Not that I have anything against bands I can get my dance on to, but most of the time live shows that involve a huge crowd of sweaty, dancing, 20-somethings really catchy but predicable beats that bore me after about 20 minutes (there's only so many times I can bob my head on the downbeat without getting a headache).
However, that was absolutely not the case at the free Minus the Bear show at the Music Farm. I'd known for a while that MTB undoubtedly had that rare gift that so few alt/prog-rock bands have of being able to hold my attention — not only because of their infectious melodies, but of the sheer unpredictability in their production. The quintet is well known for its semi-electronic style coupled with hard-rock elements centered around intricate time-signature changes, so my friend and I were definitely a little wary that the musicians might not have been able to translate their compact, well-rehearsed sound onto a live stage.
The second we ventured into the Music Farm to Minus the Bear playing "Knights," it was apparent that the group was a great live band, at least in terms of sheer musical talent. The almost robotic mechanics of drummer Erin Tate kept the rest of the band in line, while bassist Cory Murchy seemed to be in charge of getting the crowd amped up (although he really didn't need to do much). Vocalist and guitarist Jake Snider's very distinctive rock voice, which sometimes is pleasantly at odds with their more electronic tracks, came off stage just as smoothly as it does on their records.
It may have been the fact that there was only Tennessee whiskey for sale at the Jack Daniel's Studio No. 7-sponsored concert (absolutely no beer), or maybe it was the fact that the crowd was excited by seeing the Seattle band for free — but Snider let the crowd know more than once how "fucking awesome" he thought they all were, especially after sing-a-longs to favorite tracks like "Ice Monster," "My Time," and "Into the Mirror" — and an especially good reception to the first ever live performance of a new song from their upcoming album.
Minus the Bear ended its set promptly at 11 p.m., but they didn't need much convincing to come back on stage for one final song, "The Fix."
The show could easily be summed up by one instance after the show, where an extremely excited young man with his shirt unbuttoned let everyone on Ann Street know that it had become "undone in the heat of the dance." That, along with the fact that Snider ended the show by letting the crowd know that we all lived in a "beautiful city full of beautiful people," added up to an infectiously exciting live show, where everyone from the musicians to the crowd to the people working there didn't seem like they wanted to be anywhere else.