Minus the Bear / P.O.S. / the Velvet Teen - live in Washington, D.C. (Cover Artwork)

Minus the Bear / P.O.S. / the Velvet Teen

live in Washington, D.C. (2006)

live show

It had always been a secret of mine that I had never been to the Black Cat even after living in the D.C. area for a few years. So I figured that once the chance arose to go see one of my favorite bands for the first time it seemed like a perfect pairing.

After arriving at the sold out club and getting through some initial confusion about stage locations I waited for the openers Russian Circles to come on. I'm a fan of their debut album Enter, but was wondering how the crowd would react to an instrumental group; however, from the first pounding bass drum the band was able to keep the crowd's attention and didn't let up for the next half-hour. They played four songs including "Carpe" and "Death Rides a Horse." Some of the people at the show with me who aren't big fans of instrumental music were even tempted to buy an album. Definately a solid opener.

The next band up was experimental pop group the Velvet Teen. While in many ways they're the closest in sound to Minus the Bear, their music definitely isn't for everyone and wasn't for everyone at the venue. A wind tunnel of static was made leading into opener "333," and following it front man Judah definitely kept up the energy, having what could be related to near-seizure. Thoughout he was switching between guitar, tamborine, and megaphone. The persona reminded me a lot of Cedric from ATDI, especially when he said something along the lines of "humans are beings of sound, so make some noise." The rest of the band, while not as spastic, were definitely energetic, especially the drummer who relentlessly beat his kit for the set's entirety. The set was heavy off of their new album with a couple songs possibly being older. Below is what I can remember of their set list, and not necessarily in order:

  • 333 [opener]
  • Flicking Clint
  • Tokyoto
  • Noi Boi
  • Building a Whale
  • GyzmKid [closer]
Indie rapper P.O.S. probably had the toughest job out of this noticeably diverse bill. Throughout the set he definitely kept the banter up, oftentimes poking fun at the people in the club "too cool" to enjoy themselves. I'm not familiar with his music but he seemed to have some following in the audience and he did get a good sing-along for his sampling of the Bouncing Souls' "True Believers." By the end he was able to get a good amount of the people to loosen up and left a good impression on the audience.

After a pretty brief waiting period, Minus the Bear took the stage to rousing applause. They proceeded to tear through a well balanced set of old, new, and the unrecorded. The slightly more upbeat songs on the band's debut album seemed to have more bodies moving than the slightly more demure tracks off of Menos El Oso, but there was always lots of moving and people singing along; the band was also able to slip three unrecorded songs into their set. The band's stage chatter was pretty minimal, just the standard thanking of the fans and complimenting the other bands. The lead singer seemed a bit out of it, too. Still, this didn't affect his peformance as him and the rest of the band nailed all their tricky compositions, with only the occasional timing issue. After leaving briefly and returing they went into a song off They Make Beer Commercials Like This. I had to leave early before they were undoubetdly about to play "Pachuca Sunrise," a song I really wanted to hear unfortunately. When I made my way out I knew that while this may have been my first, that this definitely wouldn't be my last time with this club or band.

Set list (not in order / totally accurate):
  • Drilling
  • Hooray
  • Let's Play Guitar in a 5 Guitar Band [fake closer]
  • Memphis and 53rd
  • Michio's Death Drive
  • Monkey!!! Knife!!! Fight!!!
  • The Fix
  • new song
  • The Game Needed Me
  • new song
  • We Are Not a Football Team
  • new song
  • Pony Up?
  • Absinthe Party at the Fly Honey Warehouse
  • Encore:
  • Fine +2pts