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Minus the Bear / These Arms Are Snakes - live in Philadelphia (Cover Artwork)

Minus the Bear / These Arms Are Snakes

Minus the Bear / These Arms Are Snakes: live in Philadelphialive in Philadelphia (2005)
Suicide Squeeze Records

Reviewer Rating: 3.5


Contributed by: Matt_WhelihanMatt Whelihan
(others by this writer | submit your own)

Thanks to traffic and a parking spot blocks from the venue, I missed opening act the New Trust and came into the TLA halfway through Criteria's set. As I scrambled to find a good vantage point amongst the sold out crowd, front-man Stephen Pedersen announced that his band was going to play a few more.


Thanks to traffic and a parking spot blocks from the venue, I missed opening act the New Trust and came into the TLA halfway through Criteria's set. As I scrambled to find a good vantage point amongst the sold out crowd, front-man Stephen Pedersen announced that his band was going to play a few more "rock songs," and then preceded to show that he was not one for lying.

Criteria swayed and bobbed their heads in classic rock fashion as they banged out their dropped-D riff rock that served as a reminder that not everything Nirvana spawned resembles the artless mess that dominates rock radio. The sound quality at the TLA was nearly flawless with the drum intro to single "Prevent the World" sounding just as loud and clear as the album version. Pedersen and bassist A.J. Mogis's vocals were also a dead ringer for their recorded counterparts and high enough in the mix to be understood clearly. The few numbers I saw Criteria bang out were loud, powerful, and enjoyable, and the excellent sound quality was matched by the band's vigor. Still, their admirable stage presence seemed lacking once These Arms Are Snakes tore through their frenzied set.

From the first song, singer Steve Snere was a whirling dervish of sexual fury. Whether he was dancing like his body was mid-seizure, crossing the stage with a commanding swagger, or dipping into the crowd, Snere was acting as a conduit for all the energy that comes packed in each of These Arms Are Snakes' post-hardcore ditties. The highlight of the set came about halfway through when guitarist Ryan Frederiksen looped a guitar riff and the the entire band then walked off stage. After a few suspense-building moments of the riff replaying, Frederiksen returned to his six-string and added another looped riff that harmonized with the first before beginning to play yet another part. Shortly after, the drums and bass kicked back in and Snere reclaimed his place at center stage by flailing on the floor like a child throwing a temper tantrum.

A new song made its way into the set and opened with such an in-your-face rock vibe that it almost recalled Pantera before Snere's shouts poured out on top of it. The band rocked a couple more songs with the same convincing fervor before leaving the stage for headliners Minus the Bear.

Being pretty unfamiliar with Minus the Bear's catalogue (I've listened to Menos El Oso a few times), I can't say I really enjoyed their set, but I was one of only a few present who did not. The crowd was the most receptive I had seen at the TLA since I was fortunate enough to catch Weezer there right before the Green Album was recorded.

The band was extremely tight throughout their set, and even if I wasn't digging the music I was digging guitarist Dave Knudson's impressive tapping technique and drummer Erin Tate's creative beats. The five-piece might not have been the most mobile or exciting guys on stage (aside from Knudson, who seemed to be rocking even when the songs weren't) but their technical prowess and tonal shifts were striking.

Minus the Bear's set may not have sold me on the band, as it seemed to border a bit too much on pop-rock and lack some necessary energy, but it seemed to be all their fans up front could have hoped for from them. Each song was met with massive applause and loving shouts. The crowd even seemed to move around more during Minus the Bear's set than they had during the louder, more aggressive acts that had come before.

It was a better than average show, but Minus the Bear are not the type of band that seem to appeal to the uninitiated. If you like their recorded material, you will probably eat up their set like the kids in Philly did, but if you don't, well, you won't.

Photograph by Zach Cross

 

 
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Fine Print: The following comments are owned by whoever posted them. We are not respon sible for them in any way. Seriously.
etwiels88 (November 14, 2005)

I used to have a Magic: The Gathering card called Whirling Dervish...

Anonymous (September 30, 2005)

"a whirling dervish of sexual fury"

Thanks Faulkner.

Anonymous (September 29, 2005)

had you caught the new trust, there would be at least another star slapped on that score.

M the B is one of the most impressive bands I have ever seen live. I liked them before I caught them earlier this year... but I loved them afterwards. it probably didn't hurt their case that gratitude was on that bill too though.

withoutadoubt13 (September 29, 2005)

in MTB, dave knudson (guitar) is from botch. in these arms are snakes, their bass player brian preston was in botch and now in roy as well. im not entirely sure on the exact connection with kill sadie though.

stevejonestherealbones (September 28, 2005)

how you can read any of those sentences with "TLA" and think they are referring to these arms is beyond me.

- jones the bones

- stevejones8770@yahoo.com

bizzlebrizzle (September 28, 2005)

Everyone that I know who went said this show sucked. And my friend crashed his car on the home from it on the W.W. bridge, haha.

Brizzle, enough with the stupid crowd comments. No one cares...

I care, and that's good enough for me cock gobbler.

maverick (September 28, 2005)

TLA = Theatre Of The Living Arts = a venue in Philadelphia = the city where this show was = why the phrase "TLA" was used in the review a handful of times.

You guys are fucking retarded sometimes.

-Scott

Anonymous (September 28, 2005)

score is for the reviewer calling these arma are snakes TLA and for him not "really knowing" minus the bear. die.

k-dubs

maverick (September 28, 2005)

The Cleveland stop of this tour was crazy-awesome. It was sold out, but the hipster crowd was definitely the minority of the people there. Kida were dancing, singing, even crowd-surfing -- it was wild. And Minus The Bear played the best I've ever seen them (and I believe that show was performance number 10 for me).

Score is for just how innovative and downright awesome this band is.

-Scott

rkl (September 27, 2005)

why are these arms are snakes abbreviated as tla?

etwiels88 (September 27, 2005)

Everyone that I know who went said this show sucked. And my friend crashed his car on the home from it on the W.W. bridge, haha.

Brizzle, enough with the stupid crowd comments. No one cares...

bizzlebrizzle (September 27, 2005)

I must say though, the fagottry level at this show was insane, I kinda feel ashamed to love Minus The Bear as much as I do anymore now that I got a good look at their fanbase.

Anonymous (September 27, 2005)

www.synthasaurus.com

Anonymous (September 27, 2005)

These Arms are Snakes are a poor mans Jesus Lizard. And I mean a VERY POOR MAN.

Anonymous (September 27, 2005)

Kill Sadie could've reunited at this show. That band kicks ass.

Anonymous (September 27, 2005)

I know each of these bands, have former members of Botch...who I am a huge fan of, and have loved TAAS since they 1st came out. But what specifically are the actualy connections....I've never known exactly

Anonymous (September 27, 2005)

i'm so bummed that this show didn't come to my area, last time i saw the bear i'm pretty sure they were drunk and could've been a lot tighter.

OverDefined (September 27, 2005)

you said whirling dervish

what is that anyway?

bizzlebrizzle (September 27, 2005)

This show was cool, other than all the kids with horrible haircuts.

Anonymous (September 27, 2005)

I've tried really hard to like These Arms Are Snakes but they are just so all about nothing I can't get over it you know? Not to mention their music is pretty shitty, there are so many better things to spend your money on.

Anonymous (September 27, 2005)

This show rocked here in champaign.....and Bob Nanna's new band City On Film opened......bonus!!!!

inagreendase (September 27, 2005)

Eh, I probably should've tried harder to get off work and go to this.

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