Saturday, July 17, 2010

Show Review - Minus the Bear - Live Review - Mr Smalls - 7/17/10 - Concert Review

Saturday was a big day for all of us in Pittsburgh, with another packed show at Mr. Smalls. National band Minus the Bear played to a full crowd with their touring friends Keepaway and Everest. Waiting in line outside of Small's, you could feel the excitement, hearing chatter everywhere about "we're going to see MINUS THE BEAR!!"

The show was utterly amazing in every aspect, and to be there was one of the most wonderful privileges I have had. I was lucky enough to get on the guest list through the blog, and encountered a few problems simply because of miscommunication, but Minus the Bear's tour manager took care of everything and we can't say enough good things about him.

The show began right at eight, Small's is always reliable for that sort of thing, with a band called Keepaway. They are a three piece band from Brooklyn, New York. They were a perfect opener to set the tone of the whole night, in the way of their sound. With no drum kit, but a myriad of floor toms and cymbals, they defied the usual version of a rock band. All older than you might expect, they brought an unusual amount of energy in an unusual way. The ambiance of their Modest Mouse-esque sound overtook the whole room, captivating everyone with their music.

Next came Everest, a band from Los Angeles that a few people in the crowd were familiar with, including myself. As they took the stage, I was having a tough time telling my friend what to expect. The best way I could explain it without her previously hearing them was the sound of a heavier Manchester Orchestra. Once they began playing, it was easier to understand the comparison. With five guys, their compositions were technical and well thought out, not to mention well played. With quite a few intense guitar solos, our arms were getting tired from holding them up and giving the "wiggling" fingers. The solos were unbelievable, which was not surprising considering the passion that Everest plays with. It was hard for anyone to look away.

The openers were perfect for the act they lead up to, the one we all came to see. Minus the Bear took the stage to an insane amount of applause that continued all the way into the first song. Opening their set with "Drilling", I almost thought it was a strange choice for that spot until the crowd broke out with them. It got their set off to a familiar and comfortable start. For the next half hour they played an assortment of songs from their new album Omni without a break. After a while Alex (the keyboard player) got too sweaty to play anymore and they took a small break to talk. After playing for another fifteen minutes, they began to wrap up their set. It was much longer than I expected, but I don't think anyone was complaining.

After they left the stage, we all wanted more, and who could blame us. "One more song! One more song!" was all you could make out. And guess what, MtB must love PittsburghN because they came back out and played an encore. The first song was "Pachuca Sunrise", and we all expected that to be that, but surprise, they played two more. They ended with the one song I was desperate to hear live, and the one I had hoped they'd play since the start. "Absinthe Party at the Fly Honey Warehouse" was the song that they left us with, and the song that soundtracked the night. Being at that show was something I won't ever forget, and if you were there you know why.

--by Sam Ritzer

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