I'll defend my general love for Minus the Bear's music until the room's empty, but more times than not I'll get an "oh yeah, those guys. They're still around?" in any conversation they come up in. My defense is useless because no one even cares enough to dislike them, which, in turn, almost hurts more because these guys consistently put on some of the best live shows I've gotten to witness. [Text by Andrew, photos by Mike.]
Their Orlando appearance at the Beacham Theatre last week was, naturally, no exception. Yeah, they fell off the map after poppy math rock faded into post-whatever obscurity in the early 2000s, but have still managed to ride on some modicum of success with a linear succession of solid and catchy to droll, desperate albums over the past few years.
Live, their diminishing album quality is a mere afterthought as the fivesome enthusiastically runs through an even assortment of tracks from their relatively long discography. Guitarist Dave Knudson (of mathcore-y Botch fame) is a wildly interesting figure on stage as he taps, loops, and strums through a finger-breaking assortment of weirdly-catchy and asymmetrical riffs that have become the band's defining trait through its existence.
I've heard from a few sources that these guys are irritatingly anal when it comes to their soundchecks and their live sound is glaring evidence to the truth of this hearsay. Every instrument shines in its own respective pocket making for a nuanced, crystalline sound you almost wish you could bottle and apply to every concert you attend.Guitars scream and howl through riff-y songs like "Dr. L'ling and "The Fix" but hardly ever override the rest of the band or grate against the ear drums.
Infinity Overhead, their latest release, is probably Minus the Bear's weakest to date for myriad reasons, but live, songs like "Steel and Blood" and "Diamond Lightning" get a much-needed boost that makes choking them down just a tad easier. Even so, these tracks are just plain lobotomy for the technically-technical off-kilter drum stylings of Minus the Bear's drummer, Erin Tate, and it's hard to ignore. Is it a price MTB thinks they have to pay for radio play or a larger fan base? Who knows? The Beacham was filled, the crowd sang along, the performance was well worth the price. Stick with what you know, boys. The proof was there — enough of us love you just the way you are (or were?).
Tyler- I can't believe how talented of a writer you are. This article was beautifully…
Great interview! Give the interviewer a full time job! He's great!
The DJ was actually The Castle's very own DJ Tom Gold :)
Fabulous review Gabe! Too bad I missed it.