Minus the Bear – 10/15

October 21, 2009

Last Thursday, I went to see Minus the Bear at Blender at Gramercy. It was my first time seeing them live, and I was extremely impressed by every aspect of their performance. Not only was each member of the band evidently skilled and seemingly more familiar with their instruments than many other musicians, but their set list truly made it a fantastic experience. They played songs off of nearly every album/EP they’ve ever released; something many bands refuse to do, for fear of not pleasing their newer fans. I was also amazed that they played songs off of Planet of Ice that were never as popular as others – my favorites off the album, as well.

Some of the set included: Dr. L’Ling, Memphis and 53rd, Throwin’ Shapes, Into the Mirror, White Mystery, Monkey!!! Knife!!! Fight!!!, Ice Monster, Let’s Play Clowns, Hooray, The Fix, Absinthe Party at the Fly Honey Warehouse, Pachuca Sunrise, as well as a few others.
-Dr. L’Ling and Memphis and 53rd, two of my favorite MTB songs, were better live than I ever could have imagined.
-Not a single person wasn’t singing along during Throwin’ Shapes and The Fix.
-Into the Mirror proved to be the highlight of the set for me – absolutely flawless. Heather Duby came on stage to sing, as she does on the album – she has a great voice (She also opened for MTB).

The crowd was so much more fun than I had expected it to be. In every video I had watched of them live, people seemed to be standing still, but where I was in the crowd (2nd/3rd row in the center), everyone was dancing and singing.

The venue was also one of my favorites of all I’ve been to. It used to be an old movie theatre, so there’s a descending seated section, as well as a pit smaller than that of Irving Plaza, but a little bit bigger than the one at Highline Ballroom. The lights were spectacular and made the show even better.

My love for Minus the Bear is greater than it ever has been after such a wonderful night. I hope to go see them again as soon as possible.

On a similar note, I just heard their second single off of their upcoming album – “Broken China.” It’s a good song, without a doubt, but it doesn’t seem to compare to “Into the Mirror,” the other new song. Based on these songs, I’m fairly confident that I will love the new album.

Minus the Bear – Broken China

Owen – 10/9

October 11, 2009

The Mercury Lounge is my favorite venue of all that I’ve been to – it’s incredibly small, with a stage whose height is only just above my knees, and has great sound. It’s in an awesome area of the city, too, on E. Houston. It was perfect for the Manchester Orchestra show held there last March, and it was also fantastic for Mike Kinsella and his acoustic guitar on Friday night (Of course, the only down side is that most of the shows there are 21+, making those who haven’t been/aren’t able to see bands there because of their age resent it. Understandable).

When we arrived at the venue, Mike was sitting on the ground against the wall outside of the venue, as if he was just an Owen fan waiting for the doors to open. Most people on line didn’t even realize it was him, and as we stood by him, talking to him, a guy next to us even started talking about how Mike was “that guy from American Football.” It was pretty hilarious.

The One AM Radio opened, and were very pleasant to listen to, though I had only heard their music an hour before the show started. Made up of three members, the band played mellow songs and really were talented. The woman, Fontaine, played accordian, which made me appreciate their sound even more. Also, their male vocalist kept his foot on a tambourine and would bring his heel down on it staying perfectly on beat, as he played guitar riffs that weren’t simple and sang. It was impressive.

Owen was next, and I sat on the stage for the entire set. He opened with New Leaves, and it was wonderful. The Sad Waltzes of Pietro Crespi, One of These Days, Bad News, Curtain Call, Good Friends Bad Habits, A Trenchant Critique, Bags of Bones, Skin and Bones, Playing Possum for a Peek, and a few others also made up the set. Though every song sounded incredible acoustic, I would have really liked to hear the songs off of New Leaves that he played performed with a full band, to hear the keys and violins.

Between each song, Mike asked if anyone wanted to talk about anything, which is always great during shows, since it makes people shout out ridiculous things. People mostly wanted to talk about Mike’s beard, Obama winning the Nobel Peace Prize, bears, and his baby.

The set went by too quickly, but I’m glad I was able to hear it – what a great show.

MTB song leak

October 6, 2009

Finally, a real glimpse at what the new Minus the Bear album will be like! After hearing this song, I’m even more excited. I’m in love with every aspect of “Into the Mirror.” This song was put on their Soundwave promo video, when it was in its earlier stages of being written – even then, it sounded great. Now I’m just blown away. Hearing this live next week should be sick.

Into the Mirror