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Review: Minus the Bear 

****1/2
click to enlarge Minus the Bear - SUBMITTED PHOTO

The Vogue served as a shelter from the rain on Monday September 17 for fans of Minus the Bear. The Seattle-based five-piece are on tour for Infinity Overhead, their latest release from Dangerbird Records. With them are post-rock instrumentalists Caspian and longtime emo-rock idols Cursive. Minus the Bear promised the new album to be a set of tunes for incredible live experiences, from the soaring atmospheric to the intelligently danceable.

"These songs on this record in particular really lend themselves to a live show even more so than the last record, and that's not a cut, but it's just that there's a certain energy to these songs," bassist Cory Murchy told us in an interview.

Minus the Bear guitarist Dave Knudson played legendary riffs in progressive-hardcore pioneers Botch, singer Jake Snider performed in the softer, more jazz-influenced Sharks Keep Moving, and drummer Erin Tate is a former member of experimental post-hardcore band These Arms Are Snakes. Along with talented keyboardist (and saxophonist) Alex Rose, and bassist Cory Murchy, they are an infinite source of good tunes.

The night started with Caspian lulling the storm outside into submission with waves of post-rock glory. Their energetic performance to the enormous sound that they've distinguished as their own created. another level of enjoyment for the audience. Caspian's newest album, Waking Season, was released September 21. It expands on the band's emotional pull and creative innovations within the post-rock genre.

Cursive has been playing since 1995, give or take some time off to finish a law degree or to heal from a collapsed lung. They introduced and popularized the mix of alternative music and emo-rock with poetic flair, and performed it on Monday night with the same level of precision and enthusiasm that earned them such a devoted fanbase.

Minus the Bear's set was heavily drawn from their new record, opening with "Steel and Blood," a song influenced more from the rock side of their collective brains. They still played the classics from Menos el Oso, Planet of Ice, Highly Refined Pirates, and their previous release, Omni. Fans danced, sang along, and bobbed to the indie-grooves. Somewhere near the set's halfway mark a scuffle broke out and security promptly took control. Before the next song started singer Jake Snider addressed the incident.

"It's never the guy that's dancing that throws the first punch, it's always the guy that got bumped into," Snider said.

He encouraged us to dance harder and they finished their set, coming back for a three song encore which ended with a confetti blast that rained down over the crowd. Keyboardist Rose broke out the saxophone for an improvised overlain melody that took the sound to another level. The Vogue emptied of the smiling fans, most of whom had sore legs from a night spent dancing to Minus the Bear's newest album.

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