Judging by the crowd tonight it’s evident that MTB have a loyal following; it’s freezing outside, there are xmas parties a-plenty and last minute shoppers everywhere but these facts aside the venue is bustling in anticipation.
I kicked myself for having missed the first band The New 1920, after finding myself standing next to the hottie that is their singer. Those who were present said they were very good. Having listened to their 2 song CD sampler, I kick myself again as their sound is a catchy mix of heart warming melodies and harmonies. They might not appreciate my comparisons to Saves The Day, but I personally love them and think they’ve got a great thing going on.
The second support “27″, hailing from Massachusetts, were a little more mellow, perhaps slightly better suited to being played on your stereo. Not to berate them in anyway, I am first in line to support the female fronted band, since there will never be enough of them. 27 were nice, relaxing, tight, but not perhaps the best style of music to get a crowd warmed up for a show.
Finally Minus the Bear were up. MTB sound crisp, polished and precise in delivery this evening as their decision to not go all “spinal tap” with amps pays off -less (amps) is more they say! They open with “Knights” from their latest release “Planet of Ice” and have the crowd moving within seconds to the groove-laden samples and beats; this sets the tone for the evening as we are treated to a great deal of the new material as well as the older fan favourites.
The crowd seemed to become restless during “Dr L’Ling” before the brilliant Thin Lizzy-esque dual lead guitar outro kicked in, it sounded perfect and they really seemed to be enjoying that moment too, playing off the crowd’s reaction. It was at this point that I was distracted by the couple right in my eye line, nay right in my face, making out against the wall as if their lives depended on it. It’s been many a year since I’ve been witness to such raw animal lust. MTB must have some subtle undercurrent sexual tones to bring out this side in people. I wasn’t the only witness to this free sex act and people were soon taking bets on the actual sex of this androgenous couple which was a little misleading.
Back to the band! One of the many highlights tonight was “Drilling” which was tight as you could get and the brilliant fans’ favourite “Get Me Naked“, where literally everyone in the room was singing along to the vocal hook “I’ve got to wake up so fucking early” (story of my life!).The other tracks from “Highly Refined Pirates” were also warmly received by the crowd, as we were treated to “Monkey!!! Knife!!! Fight!!!” and “Absinthe Party“, the latter being one of my personal favourites.
In a musical world full of bands that preach bullshit onstage or go through the tick-list of what people want to hear (“we love you London, you’re the best crowd” etc…) we see that MTB are not one of these bands at all; Jake Snider may not be the most out-going of front-men but comes across as simultaneously cool, chilled and humble. And whilst they may not be a visual band who throw themselves around the stage (whilst in the moment), you can easily close your eyes and enjoy the show just as much.
Throughout the show there are shouts for “Pachuca Sunrise” which they saved until last and what a great way to end the show, dreamy and intricate with its upbeat and infectious chorus, the crowd were always destined to leave satisfied with this closing.
Brilliant gig, brilliant band, come back soon!
Photo taken from www.myspace.com/minusthebear