Minus The Bear Ice Up Cleveland's Grogg
E. NYE, OUT OF THE BLUE
It’s safe to say that I'm probably the biggest
music lover you will ever meet. I’ve seen
hundreds of bands, and go to no less than 50
shows per year. I’ve also seen bands multiple
times. Even if I didn’t like the show the first
time, I sometimes will try again to give it a
second chance. The show I’m about to
discuss now though doesn’t require a large
introduction and never has it failed me. The
euphoria I am speaking of is none other than
Seattle’s own
Minus the Bear.
The location is the Grogg Shop in Cleveland,
Ohio. So, this being a Friday night following
work, I picked up a good friend who’s also a
fan and an extreme music lover for a magical
night. To start, let me describe the Grogg
Shop for those who have never been there. It’
s a very small venue in Cleveland Heights in
the University Area of Case Western. There’s
a trendy bar in the basement called B-Side, an
ample area for crowds to gather outside, and
the concert area itself is at best no more than
5,000 square feet (I’m probably off on the
numbers). So, without getting too
materialistic, the place is super small. Yet so
intimate!
We got in as soon as the door opened and
made our way to the very front of Stage
Right, my favorite place to view a concert.
Opening was
Subtle, a hip-hop act from
Oakland that I swear featured every
instrument under the sun. On stage was
everything from a bass clarinet, piccolo flute,
bassoon, chello, and synthesizers. The lead
was a strange looking kid armed with a
million plastic forks that he managed to
throw with as much accuracy and precision
as his raps. There is little more I can say
about this group other than I was
entertained, it pumped me for the main
event and I frankly found it dirty and
nasty, which is just the way I like it! The
crowd, however, felt differently which
was very unfortunate.
The main event of Minus the Bear was
perfect. They opened the show with the
current single from their recent album,
“Planet of Ice.” The track, “Knights” is a
fast-paced crowd-hyping number.
Unfortunately, in a venue this small with a
rowdy crowd, it made viewing difficult
and we had to move back a few feet to
avoid certain death by moshing.
Following that, the show was as perfect as
any show could be. A person in the crowd
tried to shout out requests, but was shot
down as the lead singer shouted “I’m not a
fucking juke box, we prepared this set list
for you now sit back and enjoy!”  No
requests were needed as the band rattled
off every song I knew, every song I loved
and no album they ever put out was
neglected. The highlight of the show has to
be the musicianship and what might
possibly be a number of years of Irish
dance lessons that were required to master
the playing of the pedals. The guitarist has
this down to an absolute science and really
should look into getting a patent for the
move in itself and the general musicianship
and skill that it must take to execute such a
thing.  
Even if you don’t know a single word or
note these guys play, pick up an album
immediately and if you have a chance to
attend a show, go no matter how far the
drive. You won’t be disappointed!
©Copyright 2009 Out Of The Blue.
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