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Scene Around Town: Minus the Bear at the Westcott with As Tall As Lions and Twin Tigers (plus PHOTOS) by Isabel Alcantara

Minus the Bear put on a phenomenal show at the Westcott Tuesday night

PREVIEW: STREAM Minus the Bear’s “Into the Mirror”
VIEW: PHOTOS Under the Cut

As Tall As Lions, Twin Tigers, and Minus the Bear ravaged the Westcott Theater Tuesday night with a show that only large carnivorous mammals could deliver.

It takes a hell of a band to get a crowd jumping on a Tuesday night, and Minus the Bear brought Saturday night energy to the Westcott.

Just when the crowd seemed to be calling it quits after luke-warm performances from the openers, Minus the Bear delivered a show worth rocking out to.

This Seattle-based band came to Syracuse in the middle of their U.S. tour.  They just released a new single for the song “Into the Mirror,” a 7” that’s being sold at shows and digitally at online retailers such as iTunes and eMusic.

The indie rock veterans knew just how to engage the flannel-clad audience, getting them to peek out over their black, thick-frame glasses and jump around until their wool beanies were hanging on for dear life.  Opening the show with “Knights” from 2007 Planet of Ice, the energy was palpable.  In true rock n’ roll tradition, the band took time in between songs to drink casually.

Guitarist Dave Knudson was clearly absorbed in the beats, jumping wildly around, lost in the atmosphere.  At one point he even spun his guitar like a baton.  Air from fans downstage tousled the guitarists’ hair, further adding to the drama of the band’s performance.  Not to mention, frontman Jake Snider’s dramatic and melodic screams from behind a grizzly mask of hair.

Bassist Cory Murchy stood out from the sweaty bunch, jamming from his stool in a trance-like state, snapping out of it for the occasional thumbs-up to the audience.

The real marvel was keyboardist Alex Rose. Without Rose, Minus the Bear would blend into the fuzz of the indie rock universe.  The keyboardist’s ambient sounds were eclectic and fitting, quilting together beautifully to create MTB’s authentic and distinct brand of rock.

An intense rendition of “Ice Monster” sent fans into a frenzy.  Soft purple lighting jumped to intense white and blue lights, matching the sudden tempo change and dynamic leaps in the song.  The intimate venue was bursting with cries of “She’s gone, gone across the border!”

MTB even treated us to their brand new B-side “Broken China,” which they’re making it available to anybody for download.

Spirits continued to soar until the very end, when the crowd was treated to a double encore.  “Spritz!!! Spritz!!!” and “Pachuca Sunrise” sent Minus the Bear zealots home with words like “fucking amazing” on the tips of their tongues and tunes spinning through their heads.

It’s no surprise this band has a cult following of youngsters.  Performances like this only boost the hype for Minus the Bear’s new album, due out in 2010.

— Jen Littman
— Photos by Alyssa Greenberg

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