Live Review: Minus the Bear – O2 Academy 2, Newcastle, November 16th 2010

Taking a break from supporting Jimmy Eat World on their UK tour, math-rock experimentalists Minus the Bear drop by in Newcastle as part of a handful of headlining dates.

These days, in terms of attendance, Newcastle seems to be either hit or miss, but Seattle’s Minus the Bear manage to fill out the 380-capacity venue reasonably well tonight as they open with the groove-filled Secret Country from their most recent release Omni, effortlessly flowing from one track to another – that is until some snare drum issues arrive, but it’s handled with complete professionalism.

Although, tonight is clearly Omni-heavy, as they demonstrate their new soulful pop-friendly melodies with Animal Backwards, Into The Mirror and My Time, it’s old-school favourites Monkey!!! Knife!!! Fight!!! and Thanks For The Killer Game Of Crisco Twister, from 2002’s Highly Refined Pirates, that seem to attract the most bobbing heads.

Their unique indie-synth sounds of trademark tempo disruptions and guitar looping, with the soulfully soothing vocals of Jake Snider are flawlessly crisp, sounding as good as they do on record, as the encore of the heart-melting Pachuca Sunrise tops off a truly delightful performance.

- Faye Turnbull.

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