Returning to the intimacy of the Grog Shop after 2013's stop at the House of Blues downtown, Minus the Bear seemed to reconnect a bit more warmly with its rabid fan base. Last night's show was sold out, and frontman Jake Snider was outwardly happier than at the HOB gig.
The crowd was jovial, if a bit too low-key
, as Snider pointed out. There wasn't any of the raucous crowd-surfing that distinguished the show the last time they played the Grog. Most people kept the talking to a minimum, but there was still a good amount of dancing going on all over the place.
Mercifully, the band stayed away from the bulk of the new B-sides album, which is a bit too hit-or-miss for most tastes. "Electric Rainbow" showed up late in the set, and it worked fine enough at that point. Song selection spanned the band's career, which has become quite a hefty one. Still, the fans come to hear certain tunes.
And in fact, a lot of the setlist did come from the band's much earlier stuff — "Houston, We Have Uh Oh," "Let's Play Clowns," "Hey! Is That a Ninja Up There?" and the terrific "Monkey!!!Knife!!!Fight!!!" That last one, coupled with "Pachuca Sunrise" and an awesome show-ending "Knights" closed out a dynamic show from a dynamic band — trumping last year's gig and proving the Minus the Bear should stick to venues that complement attitude with atmosphere with aplomb, like the good ol' Grog.
(Probably the only thing that was missing was a nice little acoustic mini-set midway through, like the band has done in the past.)