Concert Reviews
The hottest gigs straight from the venue to your couch

Minus the Bear puts the night to tune at the Crazy Donkey (11/15)

on November 17, 2009, 4:30pm

For a band often classified as alternative, Minus the Bear speaks in another musical language that makes it stand out. With electronics that are often set on live loop and time signatures that are complicated and create varying beats, the five-man troupe is one of a kind. There is no denying that they’re off the beaten track.

On Sunday, November 15th, Minus the Bear came to the Crazy Donkey, a bar and grill in Farmingdale, New York. Now, halfway through its tour, which consists of 25 shows in the course of only 31 days, the band showed no signs of enervation from its spent time on the road. As soon as the black curtains swept across the floor to reveal the stage, Minus the Bear was prepared to satisfy the music hungry audience.

Opening with “Knights” from Planet of Ice at 10 p.m., the band immediately energized the aura of the small but comfortable venue. From there, the quintet launched into “Dr. L’Ling,” another song off Planet of Ice (the group’s third studio album released in 2007), followed by “Memphis & 53rd” off of its 2005 self-titled LP Menos el Oso (which literally translates from Spanish to “Minus the Bear”).

During the course of the night, the band made sure to play both songs off its most recent EP, Into the Mirror, which was just released on October 27th. Both “Into the Mirror” and “Broken China” have left fans on the edge of their seats in anticipation for Minus the Bear’s new, yet to be named album, due to be released in the summer of 2010. Satisfyingly, the band let the crowd have an extra taste of its new full-length by also performing an unspecified new song that will be featured on the CD.

img 0138 Minus the Bear puts the night to tune at the Crazy Donkey (11/15)

Part of what makes this Seattle band so distinctive is each musician’s contribution to the final product. Together, Jake Snider (vocals and guitar), David Knudson (guitar), and Cory Murchy (bass), added an interesting component with two-hand tapping and riffing. Erin Tate set the pulse on the drums, keeping the tight meters in rhythm, while Alex Rose, who joined the band in 2006 (he had previously been the group’s sound engineer), spent the night on keyboards. Perhaps the most notable component of Minus the Bear’s music is the technological features incorporated into the mix of sounds that often stick out prominently in songs, altering the final product.

Closing with “Absinthe Party at the Fly Honey Warehouse,” the sold out crowd chanted for more until Minus the Bear came back out to finish its set at around 11:30 p.m. with an encore of “Spritz!!! Spritz!!!”, from the 2002 album Highly Refined Pirates, and an extended version of the popular “Pachuca Sunrise”, from Menos el Oso. After a great wrap up to a spectacular night, fans poured out of the small venue very pleased with the performance they had just seen. Minus the Bear had satisfied its followers by bringing its music home, to you.

“Is it possible to put this night to tune and move it to you? Don’t cry I’ll bring this home to you, if I can make this night light enough to move.”

– “Pachuca Sunrise”

Setlist:
Knights
Dr. L’Ling
Memphis & 53rd
Throwin’ Shapes
Into the Mirror
White Mystery
Monkey!!! Knife!!! Fight!!!
Ice Monster
Broken China
Let’s Play Clowns
New Song
The Fix
Absinthe Party at the Fly Honey Warehouse

Encore:
Spritz!!! Spritz!!!
Pachuca Sunrise

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