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Minus the Bear – November 10, 2004 – Rock Island

Minus the Bear

Last night I was on a date; and at the end it was kind of like BJ and the Bear–only, Minus The Bear. Ok, I didn’t get serviced that night, but the show was that was that good.

My favorite aspect of seeing most bands is that delicate ability to walk on the tightrope that divides a risky, fiery, energetic and perfectly flawed set from one that is perfectly flawless, but too intentional to be interesting. Here, my friends, is the exception.

Minus The Bear were once really impressive: Cory (Murchy) built a solid bass structure around Dave (Knudson)’s symphonic tapping guitar style. Erin (Tate) drove the coach with the combined percussive ferocity and grace of a pro hockey team. Matt (Bayles) added a magic carpet effect with creeping, elegant electronic sweeps, and Jake (Snider) filled the guitar arena, and laid on top of that a vocal serenade that sanded any sharp edges from this incredibly complex structure.

That’s a pretty fine band, right?!


Well, now I have no description. All of these aspects have become so finely honed, that it is mind-boggling. Minus The Bear have the movement and energy that accompany a band who can get away with some sloppiness, but they still don’t miss a single note or beat. It defies gravity, as well as the laws firmly laid out in the rules of rock and roll. They have the symphonic perfection that most bands could only accomplish by making your shoes more interesting to look at; but they play the crowd and each other with the swagger of a blues driven southern rock crew.

And they’re still smart asses. They invited the crowd to hot tub with them at their room in the Ramada; then they threw out a new track (Drilling) that grinds to a stop twice in the middle of the song, baiting the audience into three rounds of applause for one tune. (Not that they don’t deserve it.) It was apparent that the band was enjoying their own hi-jinx, as each of them scanned the applauding audience with mischievous smirks.

This, mind you, is after, “67, or 68 dates,” according to Knudson, “in 90 days on the road.” added Tate–looking more proud than tired.

I told my accomplish about the number of shows they had played, adding, “That’s more than one every other day.”

“Good math.” She replied.

Nope. Minus The Bear is the good math. After this show, I can only say that they are the calculus of rock, and you cannot be bored by their lesson plan.


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