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Review Thu Oct 13 2011

Review: Minus the Bear @ the Metro

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Photo by Katie Karpowicz

Ten years ago, five seasoned Seattle musicians got together to form the group that would soon be known as Minus the Bear. Nine years ago, that band released their debut album Highly Refined Pirates. On Tuesday night Minus the Bear celebrated their ten-year anniversary and performed Pirates from front to back in front of a sold-out crowd at the Metro.

While further releases from Minus the Bear have taken the band's sound in a darker, more isolated direction--their third album was aptly named Planet of Ice--the band's performance of Pirates brought the members back to a poppier era of their career. However, the classic Minus the Bear song structure was still very much present on stage. The songs were intricate and highly technical but still maintained easy listenability and evoked a packed room of bobbing heads.

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Photo by Katie Karpowicz

Singer/guitarist Jake Snider's rich vocals and the atmospheric blips and swells a la MTB's synth operator Alex Rose create an ever-present dreamy quality in both the band's live and studio sound, but it's the percussive dynamic that exists between lead guitarist Dave Knudson (formerly of math-rock favorites Botch) and drummer Erin Tate that truly kept the energy at full blast Tuesday evening. Driving low-end toms and rapid high-hat taps helped drive Knudson's top-string fretboard-tapping melodies. Minus the Bear's songs--from Highly Refined Pirates to their most recent release 2010's Omni--have always thrived off unique rhythms and abstract timing, and it's these two that can take much of the credit for that.

After wrapping up their performance of Pirates with a bit of an extended jam session tacked onto the tail end of the record's outerlude "Booyah Achieved," the band members took a brief break from the stage and returned with an even older track. Minus the Bear kicked off their five-song encore with a song ("Just Kickin' It Like a Wild Donkey") off their debut release, a seven-track EP put out in 2001, much the audience's delight before returning to the later half of their discography. Songs like the passion-driven "Throwin' Shapes" off Planet of Ice and the jaunty "Into the Mirror" from Omni wound out Minus the Bear's ten-year celebration on Tuesday and put to rest any doubts in a band's ability to remain relevant after a decade. Judging by the reactions from both the band and their post-collegiate, flannel adorned fanbase, neither one is going anywhere as long as the other is still around.

 
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Feature Thu Dec 31 2015

Our Final Transmission Days

By The Gapers Block Transmission Staff

Transmission staffers share their most cherished memories and moments while writing for Gapers Block.

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