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Minus the Bear / Cursive / Caspian: Live in BostonLive in Boston (2012)
Reviewer Rating: 4
Contributed by: InaGreendaseInaGreendase
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My company and I thought we had arrived on time for Caspian's 8 p.m. set time, but despite doors opening at 7, there was still a fairly long line outside Boston's sold-out Royale club. Kind of a bummer to miss half the set, as what we did catch was great. I've been trying to get into Caspian's brand.
My company and I thought we had arrived on time for Caspian's 8 p.m. set time, but despite doors opening at 7, there was still a fairly long line outside Boston's sold-out Royale club. Kind of a bummer to miss half the set, as what we did catch was great. I've been trying to get into Caspian's brand of ambient post-rock for a few years now, but neither their records nor their live show (I saw them play a local Long Island gig with Sainthood Reps in '09 or '10) did much for me. After moving to Salem, Mass., the band is now rather local to my residence, residing in the neighboring town of Beverly. I promise it isn't just hometown bias now when I say that they were wonderful. Even if they were likely pounding out some of their best and most accessible material, most of which I imagine derived from their new, highly acclaimed record, Waking Season. I believe they were in the middle of "Gone in Bloom and Bough" when we first walked in, a song with momentarily metronomic drumming, robotic, non-enunciated vocals and a quicker buildup than its length hinted at. The energetic five-piece seemed to have really won over the crowd in little time, with huge applause after every celestial crescendo. Great start to the night.
The last time I saw Minus the Bear was actually at this very venue for their 10th anniversary tour, where they played their debut LP, Highly Refined Pirates, all the way through. While that show was cool as shit, it was nice to get a wider spread of their catalog for this show, including a healthy number of tracks from their new record, Infinity Overhead (which contains a few average songs, a bunch of good ones and a couple of their best to date). Frontman Jake Snider was looking a little more clean-cut than usual, while guitarist Dave Knudson remained ever the centerpiece showman, tapping away and hopping around like he had an injured appendage.
Menos El Oso opener "The Game Needed Me" felt less "bendy," smoothed out and heaped with more keys from synth op Alex Rose. Thankfully, "Diamond Lightning," the best track from Infinity Overhead, received its rightful live recreation. "Toska" got a bit of a tropical bridge, while OMNI "hit" and penultimate song in the proper set, "My Time," was a genuine shit-starter. Big balloons filled with silver confetti were released, spraying their contents across the audience when popped. Crowd surfers, damn the lack of a barricade, were passed around the front.
The epic "Cold Company" was sequenced well, closing the set (its "Kashmir" influence comes out real strong live, too). Real closer "Pachuca Sunrise" actually stirred kind of a pit, forgoing the loose, Bonnaroo-style jumping that had been the preferred dancing style of the night by plenty in the highly active, kinetic crowd. Also: lots more crowd-surfing, and a mean sax by Rose. It might just be another promotional cycle for MtB now, but there's no denying they still know damn well how to get an audience moving, and continue to treat their impressive song catalog with ever-so-slightly deviations that keep them fresh for the live setting.
Set list (10:03-11:13):
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