Sunday, May 11, 2008

review: Minus The Bear Rocks Tour End

PHOTO: Fans cheer wildly for hometown heroes Minus The Bear at their North American tour finale on May 8 at Showbox at the Market. The sold out performance was a huge hit for fans and the band with a wide variety of old and new songs.

As far as hometown shows go — or any show, for that matter — Minus The Bear's triumphant return to Seattle and The Showbox couldn’t have gotten any better.

Ending the two month North American tour in the Emerald City was fitting. Though New York trio The Big Sleep and Alaskan trio Portugal. The Man are great opening acts, the crowd was clearly there to see the hometown heroes.

Make no mistake — these guys rock really hard. That’s the one thought that circled through my head during the entire performance, and there’s no other way to say it. The concerts they’ve been selling out from coast to coast since early March are a clear reinforcement of that fact.

The band played through their entire hour and twenty minute slot plus a four song encore, breaking between sets just long enough to switch equipment or take a breath. Factor in how hard they were going at it, and the performance has to be respected at the very least.

Though some bands sound better with the benefit of studio equipment and post-processing, Minus The Bear — whose name comes from an inside joke referring to the 80s TV show “B.J. and the Bear” — is not one of them. The energy of the stage performance translated into musical energy at the same time, and let the audience feel what a great concert should.

The 1100 person capacity of Showbox at the Market was completely consumed, and it’s almost hard to put into words how in love the audience was. It was clearly a symbiotic relationship: the band fed off of their fans, the fans fed off of the band and the show escalated.

Drummer Erin Tate definitely deserves a shout out for his impressive playing. Minus The Bear’s music is incredibly rhythmic, and watching Tate flail wildly with intense precision showed how the sound is made possible. It’s hard to imagine working as hard as he was for one set, much less an hour and a half.

There was no out-with-the-old mentality either, though plenty of songs from their latest album release “Planet of Ice” were played. Plenty of crowd favorites from every past LP and EP were eagerly eaten up by the audience, including the first song Minus the Bear ever wrote called “Lemurs, Man, Lemurs.”

It was a successful and fun, if short, reunion between the band and the city. The thumbs up that bassist Cory Murchy kept giving the crowd said it all: Minus The Bear was happy to be home.