November 24, 2017 Silversun Pickups & Minus the Bear Charm New Haven, CT 11-18-17
Starting back on October 21st, Silversun Pickups and Minus The Bear joined forces for what would be a nearly month-long run of shows. Coming to a conclusion on November 19th in Philadelphia, PA, just one day prior, New Haven, CT was a bustling place on Saturday, November 18th. An area where there are always theater productions, dance parties, and plenty of pizza eating going on, that night Silversun Pickups and Minus the Bear rolled into town to bring their show to the newly-renovated College Street Music Hall. Fans packed themselves into this stellar new venue nestled among the beautiful stone buildings of Yale University and all the happening nightlife New Haven has to offer.
Though that night was the penultimate show of a nationwide tour, both bands still brought insane energy to their performances. These two bands briefly shared spots on the Dangerbird Records roster, though that is no longer the case now. Even so, this tight, two-band bill was packed with unique Rock sounds that are similar enough to sit well together, yet each band possesses its own sound, allowing fans to be entertained by great music from start to finish.
First to show off that sound was Seattle, Washington’s own Minus the Bear. It was strange to see the band as an opener, as Minus the Bear is a well-established and highly-respected outfit. In fact, the band recently completed their own headlining tour in support of their incredible sixth studio album, 2017’s VOIDS. Since coming together in 2001, Minus the Bear have gathered a considerable fan-base thanks to their signature sound: a mix of Math, Progressive, and Indie Rock powered by Guitarist Dave Knudson’s impressive guitar-tapping. With six albums under their belt, Minus the Bear have proved that they can continually create killer music that pushes musical and lyrical boundaries while still retaining their unique character, and they gave the crowd a perfect sampling of their catalog.
After some shakeups to the band’s original lineup, they now consist of three original members: Vocalist/Guitarist Jake Snider, Bassist Cory Murchy, and Knudson along with Keyboardist/Vocalist Alex Rose, and touring Drummer Joshua Sparks. They each filed out onto the expansive stage to polite cheers from the audience before kicking things off with new track “Give & Take.” As always, people are suckers for nostalgia, and so when the first few notes of classic track “Knights” rang out, it got a huge cheer from those in the crowd who were there to see Minus the Bear. As the set continued with “Into the Mirror” and “Invisible,” the lead single from VOIDS, it seemed as though the band were starting to impress Silversun Pickups’ fans as the crowd began bouncing and bobbing their heads along with the music.
Knudson continually stepped up to the front of the stage to show off his guitar-tapping during another classic and fan favorite track “Absinthe Party at the Fly Honey Warehouse.” Slowing things down a bit, the band charmed the crowd with “Diamond Lightning” before kicking the energy up again with another VOIDS tune, “Tame Beasts.” Following that was another slower classic “White Mystery,” tailed by an infectious new favorite “Last Kiss.”
Unfortunately, after the fan-favorite “Pachuca Sunrise,” Minus The Bear’s set came to an end. Even though the audience was not wholly responsive aside from the few Minus the Bear fans, the band’s energy never faltered. They garnered a huge cheer as they waved goodbye, hopefully earning themselves some well-deserved new fans with their tight, fifty minute performance.
Now a completely packed venue buzzing with excitement, it was ready to explode as Silversun Pickups’ massive banner came into view. It was the first time in the band’s illustrious seventeen-year career that they made the trip to New Haven, so fans were thrilled they did not have to travel to New York or Boston for once to see a favorite band like Silversun Pickups.
Established in 2000, the band found success with their 2006 debut album Carnavas thanks to the timeless single “Lazy Eye,” which continues to be the band’s most-streamed track. Since then, the band have released three more full-length albums including their most recent, 2015’s Better Nature, an album that would be featured heavily in the night’s set. Impressively, the band have kept the same lineup since 2002—a feat rarely seen in music these days—and when Keyboardist Joe Lester, Drummer Christopher Guanlao, Bassist Nikki Monninger, and Guitarist/Vocalist Brian Aubert took the darkened stage, the crowd erupted with cheers.
Kicking off their set with newer track “Nightlight,” those fans in the pit packed close to the stage to sing along. However, that was only the beginning: fans went wild for Carnavas track “Well Thought Out Twinkles,” and the haunting “The Royal We” off their 2009 album Swoon. Fans jumped and sang along, trading energies with the band as they gave their all on-stage even though Aubert was sporting a cast-covered broken arm. That is dedication right there! If that was not impressive enough, neither he nor the band missed a beat as they charged through “Circadian Rhythm (Last Dance)” and the dark, electronics-heavy single “The Pit.” They kept their set mixed, bouncing between eras and albums with the new “Tapedeck” and the classic “Little Lover’s So Polite,” keeping things interesting and exciting for the eager fans.
Though the band are engaging to watch on their own, their show was backed up by a mesmerizing light show. Each song came equipped with a different lighting set-up to fit the mood. During the slower “Friendly Fires,” the stage was bathed entirely in red, while during the upbeat “Latchkey Kids,” changing lights matched the music. Giving the atmosphere room to breath, they frequently paused between songs to stay engaged with the crowd, getting them to give a huge cheer for Minus The Bear and saying that they were happy to be able to come to New Haven to enjoy all it has to offer. Hopefully that means they will return next time they tour!
Following that, fans broke out into the first mosh pits of the night during the heavy “Panic Switch,” but that was nothing compared to the energy shown during the set’s closer, “Lazy Eye.” Though the band have likely played this song thousands of times throughout their career, they still put everything they have into the performance and fans responded to that in-kind. It was easily the wildest part of the evening, especially as the song crescendoed into it’s crashing choruses. Fans cheered as the band filed off the stage, and stomped and cheered until they returned to finish off the night with “Cannibal,” “Dots And Dashes (Enough Already),” and “Kissing Families.”
Following that spectacular performance, everyone in attendance went into the night riding high on the energy Silversun Pickups and Minus the Bear provided. It was a huge turnout and so hopefully both of these bands—and many others—will make New Haven a stop on their upcoming tours. Until then, be sure to check them out as they finish off the rest of 2017 with individual select dates, as well as the show scheduled for December 3rd and 4th out in the Northwest region.