Minus the Bear perform at Heaven in London
Before their gigs at V Festival and Hyland Parks on the 18th and 19th August, the rock band Minus the Bear (named after the 70s show BJ and the Bear– I’ll leave the pun to you) played at the nightclub and popular venue Heaven.
Minus the Bear are an American indie-rock group from Seattle, Washington. They’re fairly veterans of the indie rock scene, having started out in 2001, and have made a name for themselves with sophisticated but easy‐going (not to mention addictive) tunes.
The band is moving in some new directions, to the acclaim of some, and the dismay of others, moving away from the progressive (“proggie”) indie rock for which they were known to more mainstream rock (or even pop). At Heaven, they played a mixed set of old favourites from previous albums – especial highlights are When we Escape and Drilling. Infectious hooks abound: there wasn’t a dull moment during the one and half-hour set.
The band did not go unappreciated by Heaven. Making your way from the stone antechamber to the cellar-like corridor, the arches leading to the main room (and Minus themselves) were congested with eager fans: some standing stalwart and impressed, others swaying steadily and quite a few shaking in paroxysms of excitement, chanting the lyrics. Minus the Bear attracts some serious fanaticism, and why not? Chilling in places with synch beats, wildly entertaining elsewhere with rock elements, they pause between songs to wax gratefully about their reception.
Having said that, Minus the Bear seem to be in a transitional phase at the minute: concerning their new album (to be released in September) they said they were going back to their “comfort zone”, which will probably be good news to fans who fell in love with the old style – which was in some ways lacking in their last album, Omni.
That’s not to say a band shouldn’t be progressive, but some question whether Minus the Bear are making a dash for the mainstream, rather than focusing on the recording of a compilation of more amazing music.
That said: finally, when you get songs like the inimitable Pachuca Sunrise (which had people to our left and right embracing each other), it speaks volumes about the capacity of this mind, and the bright future they have.
Listen to Diamond Lighting, from the upcoming album Infinity Overhead, here: