Music » Livewire

Minus the Bear

With MewithoutYou and Russian Circles. Sunday, May 14, at the Grog Shop.


Minus the Bear is in tricky territory. The Seattle quintet of ex-hardcore and math-metal allstars is building momentum with its sophomore album, Menos el Oso, but has also signaled its intent to ascend the slippery slope of "maturity." The Bear is refining its sound by dialing up the pop sheen and cutting back on the hardcore and metal-informed dynamics. Can they keep moving up without overreaching their songwriting limits and turning out the kind of vanilla pap that signaled that Piebald and the Get Up Kids had lost their way?

For Minus the Bear, it's steady sailing so far. Verses that were mired in proggy noodling on the debut, Highly Refined Pirates, have been given a more efficient disco beat on Menos el Oso. (Though hipsters call it dance-punk, we know better.) While Pirates' choruses seemed too much in love with riff-heavy breakdowns and bombastic drum work, Menos relies on increasingly adroit harmonies between Jake Snyder's earnest tenor and Dave Knudson's jangly guitar, achieving a more mellifluous, soaring effect.

We welcome readers to submit letters regarding articles and content in Cleveland Scene. Letters should be a minimum of 150 words, refer to content that has appeared on Cleveland Scene, and must include the writer's full name, address, and phone number for verification purposes. No attachments will be considered. Writers of letters selected for publication will be notified via email. Letters may be edited and shortened for space.

Email us at

Support Local Journalism.
Join the Cleveland Scene Press Club

Local journalism is information. Information is power. And we believe everyone deserves access to accurate independent coverage of their community and state. Our readers helped us continue this coverage in 2020, and we are so grateful for the support.

Help us keep this coverage going in 2021. Whether it's a one-time acknowledgement of this article or an ongoing membership pledge, your support goes to local-based reporting from our small but mighty team.

Join the Cleveland Scene Press Club for as little as $5 a month.