Last Saturday (the 15th), one of the most popular indie rock bands returned to Philly for part of their 10 year anniversary tour. You guessed it, Minus the Bear. I was so excited to see these guys again. Last time, also at the Electric Factory, was right after I started my own music blog, Philly Mostly Vegan, and hadn’t yet started taking pictures. I remember waiting outside in the FREEZING cold just so that I could be as close to the stage as possible. Well, not this year. Unfortunately, I tried something new and took notes on my brand new iPhone 4S instead of my usual pen and paper. I’ve since lost all my notes from this awesome show, and will simply have to resort to memory on this one. If this was Twitter I’d say this: #iphonefail
Unimpressed by last year’s openers, I was looking forward to see who Minus the Bear brought along for this tour. The Velvet Teen, a four-piece indie rock band from Northern California, more than made up for last year’s letdown. It was easy to see why these guys were chosen as the openers. Regardless of being good friends with MTB, their sound complements them very well. While it took the crowd a few songs to get into it, they seemed to enjoy them just as much as I did by the end of their set. Frontman Judah Nagler pulled a Shannon Leto and sat on the edge of the Electric Factory stage for one of their songs, engaging the fans that much more. Apparently these guys have a full-length album in the works, which I look forward to hearing, as they haven’t had an album release to their name since 2006. Keep an eye (and ear) out for these guys!
There was no containing the excitement among the crowd that night. Die hard fans were anxiously waiting to hear the first album Minus the Bear ever released, Highly Refined Pirates, while celebrating 10 years as a band. I love the idea of this, because I hate when bands forget about their older music at live shows. Although I’ve only been a fan since their 2010 release, Omni, I had listened to their older music enough to know that I would love to hear more of it live. Last year, they focused primarily on Omni, which made sense at the time and I have no reservations about. Some of my favorite songs of the night were “Absinthe Party at the Fly Honey Warehouse,” “Let’s Play Guitar in a Five Guitar Band,” which The Velvet Teen returned to stage, and “My Time.” Despite the difficulties of taking pictures with a ridiculously high stage, I had a great time. The energy of the show phenomenal, complete for numerous crowd surfers towards the end of the set. It felt great to be a part of this 10 year celebration, and I look forward to what Minus the Bear has in store next.