[TRI STATE INDIE] Minus The Bear and O’Brother Pack Underground Arts

For most of the October leg of Minus The Bear’s tour supporting Lost Loves, small venues were the pick of the day for the band. The smallest, ranking at 157 capacity, rested in Denver, the Marquis Theater, to the largest, Magic Stick in Detroit, with a roughly 1,000 person cap.

Last time around, Minus The Bear completely sold out the Electric Factory, which is double in size to Underground Arts, where the four seasoned musicians (and one sub drummer) played to a sold out crowd Saturday night. It was an intimate, and rare, experience for all in attendance. The crowd could reach out and graze Jake Snider’s pant leg if they really wanted to. It’s safe to say that Minus The Bear rediscovered their niche that works.

 

An amorous fan of O’Brother, who opened up the night, extended her hand to offer Tanner Merritt some fries, but was rejected. A good call considering the guttural bellows that is part of the band’s tight, yet grungy style.

O’Brother’s , who played a (roughly) 45 minute set of sweaty fervor, touched lightly on their sophomore release, Garden Window and really drove their latest,Disillusion, hard. “Oblivion”, for example, is as entrancing, as it is brutal, which seemed to sit well with the O’Brother fans and Minus The Bear fans alike.

“We have two more songs,” Merritt, frontman, said. “Play five more,” someone yelled. “Well they are long, so….” he cracked a smile.

Snider, Minus The Bear’s frontman, had a cool, calm and collected vibe on stage. He appeared content and comfortable in the intimacy of Underground Arts, allowing his pitch-perfect voice to do the work for him. His cohorts went above his level of energy by head banging and getting up close to the crowd for a closer look. The band slid in easily to their first song, “Fine +2 parts”, an oldie from They Make Beer Commercials Like This (2004), and a goodie.

Speaking of which, Minus The Bear jumped all over their impeccable discography, ranging from “Monkey!!!Knife!!!Fight!!!” off Highly Refined Pirates(2002), to “My Time” off Omni (2010), to “The Fix” off Menos El Oso (2006). It was a priceless gift from the band to the crowd, who would have never guessed they would hear such a range up close and personal.

Lost Loves is a collection of rare songs, some, like “Patiently Waiting” and “Electric Rainbow”, which Minus The Bear played towards the end of the set, only appeared as bonus tracks or b-sides. “The Lucky Ones”, one of the best off the album, warranted a solemn sing a long from beginning to end.


“You guys are sweet, sweet motherfuckers,” Snider said with a smile.

Everyone thought the show was over after the dance party that ensued for “Absinthe Party at the Fly Honey Warehouse”. But as the crowd chanted “one more song”, the house lights pulsing along with them, Minus The Bear reemerged. They weren’t done giving the crowd the night of their life and finished off their set with two songs not listed on the set list: “Houston, We Have Uh-Oh” and “Knights”.

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