Minus the Bear (5 stars)

ABC2, Glasgow, Wed 29 Nov


When was the last time you saw a pop band mosh? And I mean, a full-on shred fest, not a choreographed McFly star-jump.

That’s precisely what you get with Minus the Bear. A band that spent their formative years slugging it out in pioneering, but little heard Seattle hardcore acts before ditching the distortion pedals for pop melodies.

Taking to the stage in understated fashion, the group played a set largely taken from last year’s excellent Minus El Oso album. Three new numbers showcased a mellower side, while older tracks rocked more than an indie band has a right to, courtesy of stop-start tempos, guitar effects and head-banging guitarist, Dave Knudson’s fret-dancing finger-work.

It’s only then that you realise that Minus The Bear are Death Cab For Cutie’s Van Halen loving, beer-swiggin’, younger brother: sure, they’ll give you intelligence, wit and heartfelt tales of falling in love, but dammit are they going to have a good time while doing it. A thrashing good time you might say.

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