Minus The Bear
P.O.S., The Velvet Teen
Orlando, Fl Oct. 28, 2006
by Jen Cray
Before I delve into the mass popularity that is Minus The Bear, I must take a moment to appreciate the venue that is The Club@ Firestone. Only recently has the predominantly dance-oriented club again started booking rock acts. The venue serves as an in-between for bands who oversell The Social (fits about 400-ish), but can't quite move the 2,500 tickets needed to sell out the House of Blues. Its two-level space can not only house about 1,200, but its decor straddles the line between trendy and hipster chic. With multiple rooms, an upstairs white bar with balconies that overlook the stage, and an outdoor patio complete with a fountain and a bamboo fence, it is by far the coolest and most comfortable concert venue in Orlando. Thank the promoters they're doing concerts again!
For a pre-Halloween show, it was an eclectic bill- topped by Minus The Bear- that included an instrumental band from Chicago (The Russian Circles), a hard-hitting Indie trio (The Velvet Teen) and an independent rapper (P.O.S.). By the time I found a parking space and got inside, The Velvet Teen was almost finishing up. The California band got the crowd's heartrate pulsing, but it was quickly slowed down (at least mine was) by P.O.S.
I don't listen to rap and I don't get the appeal of djs. I want guitars, I want drums, I want singing (or screaming if appropriate), not just fast talking. With that said, I can still appreciate P.O.S.'s attitude when he told the bored looking folks down front to move out of the way if they weren't gonna try to have a good time. "I know you weren't expecting a rapper " he said with a smile. Appreciated it, but did not quite enjoy his bass heavy set. No offense to the man, it's just not my brand of booze.
When Seattle's headliners set up onstage there's a tight squeeze in the crowd as everyone tries to get closer. The band- which includes members of Botch, Kill Sadie and Sharks Keep Moving- has developed quite a following since its inception 5 years ago. Before this night's gig they did a meet & greet (and judged a pumpkin carving contest!) at the ever popular Park Ave. Cds, and it was quite crowded I was told.
Their performance had me perplexed. Though the audience seemed to love every second of it- singing along, screaming song requests etc- I found vocalist/guitarist Jake Snider's lack of momentum distracting from the otherwise wonderfully complex yet accessible sounds the band was making onstage. Barely parting his lips and hiding behind a shaggy mass of hair, the frontman's discomfort in the spotlight was obvious and proposed the question- If you don't want to entertain an audience than why are you the singer? Isn't it, as Jason Lee's character Jeff Bebe in Almost Famous says, a singer's job "to get people off!.. To connect!"
I left feeling disconnected.
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