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Live Review: Minus The Bear, Tall Ships & Brontide, Scala, London 2.9.2010

Considering the last time Minus The Bear played a headline London show was in December 2007 it would be a vast understatement to say the near sold out crowd were up for tonight. The Scala seemed a fitting venue, a step up from the now demolished Astoria 2, and like that show three years ago this evening was the last night of their European tour, and they were keen to make up for the years away.

Aside from the headliners, Brontide and Falmouth Towns very own Tall Ships have joined Minus The Bear for their three UK shows. The fans that arrived early for Brontide at 7.45 were in for a treat. It’s instrumental brutality, which builds with some hefty layering of guitar which escalates and explodes into something quite scary. Tall Ships summed it up well by declaring that they must look like pussies after the sheer brutal show Brontide put on tonight.

When Tall Ships did arrive on stage they were clearly nervous, and rightly so seeing as this was without doubt the biggest show they have played. Debut EP staples ‘Beanie And Dodger’ and ‘Books’ settled the band in, but the new tracks from a soon to be released second EP really felt the standouts of tonight’s show. The classic ‘Vessels’ ended quite clearly one of the best gigs they have had the pleasure of playing. To win over a crowd who have waited 3 years for a headline Minus The Bear show is a bloody hard task but with the response they got they should be expecting quite a few more EP sales in the coming days.

When the time came for the headliners to hit the stage the anticipation built as the crowd erupted at the slightest dimming of lights or lull in PA music. And they weren’t disappointed as ‘Knights’ opened the set with pin point perfection. The venues sound tonight was near perfect, which meant guitarist Dave Knudson shone out, taking all the studio effects and delivering them on stage with a plethora of pedals while still having time to throw himself around; clearly they saved some energy for this last show as the band seemed overjoyed to be back in London again, playing the longest set of the tour.

‘Monkey!!! Knife!!! Fight!!!’, ‘Spritz!! Spritz!!’, ‘Pachuca Sunrise’, ‘Get Me Naked 2: Electric Boogaloo’ and ‘Memphis And 53rd’ all made it into a set that pleased a crowd who didn’t seem too keen for 'OMNI' to be forced upon them. However ‘My Time’ and ‘Summer Angel’ were received very well and started and ended the OMNI section of the set. After just over an hour the band left the stage but were soon back for two more songs which ended the night on the classic ‘Absinth Party At The Fly Honey Warehouse’.

The crowd tonight clearly still cling onto the classic tracks of past albums that were eagerly sung back, and saw the most movement from those in attendance. But the two new tracks felt at home within this set that was performed faultlessly, every last detail and intricacy crafted on stage to album quality. A great night and successful London return for Minus The Bear, who were excited to announce they will be back on our shores this November.

Connor O’Brien

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