Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Business as usual on the Planet of Ice

Aside from the slight fog, the blue light lined bass drum, and the amps painted white (ooh! Planet of Ice!), it was business as usual for Seattle's Minus The Bear Friday night at the Metro. Thankfully the band is an absolute joy to behold, especially if you enjoy technical virtuosity. Watching guitarist Dave Knudson finger tap complicated yet catchy melodies on his
fretboard and deftly tap his way around a confusing motherboard of sampler pedals is worth the price of admission alone. It's a wonder that the guy isn't a boring automaton onstage with that kind of responsibility. Instead, he's by far the most animated member, swaying and swinging his guitar wildly and occasionally jumping to the ground to operate the pedals with his hands. Drummer Erin Tate was also in top form, pounding out syncopated rhythms with the precision of a drum machine.

Opening with "Burying Luck," the set was heavily taken from the latest record, Planet of Ice and the sold out crowd cheered with delight for "Ice Monster" and MTV favorite "Knights." Newest addition Alex Rose handled all of the background vocal duties remarkably well proving to be a valuable asset to the band especially during old favorites "Fine + 2 Pts" and "Spritz!!! Spritz!!!"

After an extended and dangerously psychedelic outro, the band came out for their encore and their best song, the ridiculously named "Absinthe Party at the Fly Honey Warehouse" again spotlighting Knudsen's insane noodling. All in all, it was a strictly by-the-numbers but still enjoyable night. It might soon be time for the rest of the band to up their game and take some chances but for now Minus The Bear seems content to rest on straight up readings of their competent and usually catchy catalogue of favorites. -B. Nanna