Review: Minus the Bear, Chicago, 10/17/08

(Video after the jump) Chemistry. Like a solid relationship, chemistry is essential to any good performance and Minus the Bear has it. This band has a unique beat, a rhythm different than most any other band you’ll hear. And that’s hard to achieve. Sometimes it sounds like a heartbeat has suddenly stopped, then been jolted back to life, or simply skipped a beat only to keep the rhythm seconds later. It shouldn’t work, but it does. And Minus the Bear knows how to make it work without seeming awkward or contrived – it just flows out of them, about as natural as whistling a tune.

Another fitting word – sophisticated. Part of that unique sound comes from the array of pedals, used heavily by both lead singer/guitarist Jake Snyder and lead guitarist Dave Knudson. Timed well throughout the show and sometimes used in place of an instrument, the array of effects is impressive, but not overwhelming.

As a whole, the show was impressive most of the times, but underwhelming at others. Their slower, more rhythmic songs are very good, but there were some that were downright pedestrian. And these tended to be the ones that were more “rock” oriented. For my money, I can hear standard rock music anywhere. Here, I’m more interested in that peculiar sound that I find stuck in my head for days on end. A worthy show worth the price of admission and I’d see them again.

Crowd note: This crowd was very, very young. I think the only people there older than myself were chapperones. And there was some moshing going on – which, considering this style of music, I found odd. And entertaining. Enjoy the video below, wish the sound quality was better for you.