JAM Magazine Concert Reviews

October 28, 2010
House of Blues - Dallas
Dallas, TX USA
Review by Chris Apaliski
Photos by Ben Garrett

Minus The Bear

Indie Rock at its Best

Minus The Bear have always been on the forefront of blending indie-rock with precise technicality. Each album brings about a distinct sound different from the previous one, and their ability to stay ahead of the game has awarded them with a cult following that grows exponentially every year. As far as the band's live performance, they can be equated to a fine wine that gets better with age.

The band's performance at The House of Blues Dallas can easily be summed up with one word: stellar. From the opening notes of the mid-tempo rocker "Secret Country," it was clear the band were functioning well over 100 percent. This was an interesting opener, as it's not overly in-your-face, but the dimmed house and stage lights kept an intimate feel to band and audience, one that would resonate from there to the rest of the evening.

Hitting spots from their entire catalog, songs like "Thanks for the Killer game of Crisco Twister" and "I'm Totally Not Down with Rob's Alien" are old school classics that aren't often played on tour. On many of these older tunes, guitarist Dave Knudson employs a fervent double tapping technique that is mesmerizing to watch. With his body flailing around on the stage, he's able to take a skill that was so often reserved for over the top 80's sounding hair metal bands, and turn it into a percussive state of bliss.

Stage banter was at a minimum for the night, although frontman Jake Snider did remark that things weren't looking too good for the Texas Rangers, who were at the same moment getting destroyed in game 2 of the World Series. This wouldn't break any enthusiasm over the night however, as there were plenty of raised arms and singing along. The fist pumping and hand waving from the crowd was equally amusing to watch, as it became obvious how even longtime fans of the band had a hard time keeping up with time signature changes and odd rests such as those heard at the end of "Burying Luck."

One of the coolest moments of the show was watching the band play "Animal Backwards," which is an electronic sounding song relying heavily on backwards loops, samples and guitar effects. To be honest, it is a song I didn't think I would hear the band play live, and it was a real treat.

The staples such as "Pachuca Sunrise", "Absinthe Party at The Fly Honey Warehouse" and "Knights" were excellent closers, and brought the crowd to a roar of enthusiasm. While the band's latest album Omni has been met with mixed reviews (it's a great album, by the way), Minus The Bear proved this evening that they haven't missed a step. They were as tight and as perfect as anyone could ever be. They are an excellent band to see live, and will always leave the listener craving more.