Live Review: Minus the Bear – The Mayan Theater, Los Angeles
Mon, 24 May 2010 17:26:44
Minus the Bear Videos
The best way to describe Minus the Bear at The Mayan Theater in Los Angeles May 20 is thunderous. Thunderous because every element of the show was ground shaking, extremely noisy and continuously surprising.
A bass line shaking the floor harder than any earthquake I have ever felt was the introduction to the band's set. This brought about appropriately vigorous applause as the band sauntered onstage, applause which hardly stopped during any part of the show.
"Drilling," off the 2005 fairly well received Menos el Oso, started the set followed by a few others pulled from all but Minus the Bear’s most recent album, OMNI. My favorite part of the entire show occurred during one of these first few songs when guitarist Dave Knudson broke into a solo reminiscent of Brit Daniel's signature style – spastic twitching accompanied by frenzied staccato guitar strokes.
The band was met with huge applause upon their introduction to "My Time," the first song off OMNI. While I understand that true fans will be excited to hear any new release live, I was surprised by the fervent outpouring of appreciation as OMNI was an incredibly lackluster addition to Minus the Bear’s discography. (Pitchfork was nice when they gave the album a 3.5/10 rating… I would have capped it at 2.0). Yet, despite my dislike of the studio album, "My Time" and subsequent "Summer Angel," were so tightly executed that it was hard to resist the urge to dance and sing along.
Including the 3-song encore, the show ran an impressive 90 minutes. With a set that long, there are inevitable dips in energy, particularly apparent during "Secret Country," also off OMNI. However, keyboardist Alex Rose tried to rally by heading into the crowd multiple times to lead an audience clap-along. Crowd favorite, "Pachuca Sunrise" off Menos el Oso, diminished this need, as it caused so much fervor that the screaming audience actually overpowered the song’s intro.
The transition from one song to the next was flawlessly executed. Little distracted from the band’s live prowess except for the noisy, yet deserved, reception that accompanied each song. In the end, it was evident that Minus the Bear was a band that hit their stride during the instrumental breaks; probably a reason lyric-heavy OMNI was such a disappointment and their live show so surprisingly gratifying.