Minus The Bear
Edit this event
- Minus The Bear »
“The sound in here is incredible,” a bloke near the back of the room shouts to his mate. “They sound incredible.” It forces a momentary reassessment, but it’s no use. He’s utterly, foolishly wrong. Minus The Bear make fabulous records that demand clarity in a PA system, so it’s deeply frustrating that they’re playing in the unapologetic Astoria 2 - a venue of higgledy-piggledy pillars, ramps and floors that lacks any sense of friendly, welcoming atmosphere. The sound in here is always shocking, just as it used to be in the Garage in Highbury, where black concrete seems to absorb every nuance of a band’s music.
For a start, Jake Snider spends the whole night battling with an unresponsive microphone - if he moves any more than a centimetre away from it, his vocal is lost. Meanwhile, Dave Knudson’s signature guitar riffs, fundamental to tracks such as ‘Memphis & 53rd’ and ‘Michio’s Death Drive’, sit so low in the mix that the songs are drained of that unique, life-affirming sparkle.
So, no. Minus The Bear do not sound incredible tonight. But it’s far from their fault as they plough their pre-Christmas energy into a set of songs that draws from their back catalogue. Apart from ‘Pachuca Sunrise’, of course, the biggest cheer of the night is reserved for oldie ‘Absinthe Party At The Fly Honey Warehouse’, proving that MTB’s fan base remains as loyal as ever.
There is a slightly more reserved reception for cuts off latest album Planet Of Ice, which is the result of either a lack of familiarity or, if we’re feeling cynical, the fact that those songs aren’t as convincing. Certainly, while ‘Knights’ ignites the crowd just fine, the laborious ‘Dr L’Ling’ still makes very little sense, even if Knudson’s enthusiasm on stage injects the robotic prog with a dose of energy and humanity. It’s introduced as MTB’s final song of the evening (Bloke At The Back is duped, proving his naivety once and for all), but thank God it isn’t - the whole show would lie in ruins.
But then, even ‘Pachuca’ struggles to lift the roof off in this environment, and if it wasn’t for Jake Snider reminding us every so often that this is the final gig of their European tour before they head home for a well-deserved break, we’d all be clueless: the band look spent; too exhausted to get carried away in the moment. The result is an evening of muted entertainment.
Photo: Sara Sanger
- In Photos: Minus The Bear @ Heaven, London
- Minus The Bear - Infinity Overhead
- In Photos: Minus the Bear @ Sheffield Academy
- In Photos: Leeds Festival 2010 Day Two @ Bramham Park, Leeds
- Coachella: DiS' 2008 Review
- Minus The Bear offer an additional reissue
- Math-Rock Family Tree: exploring the roots of Foals
- Minus The Bear at Astoria 2 formerly Mean Fiddler, London, Thu 20 Dec