When Sketches came on the crowd could only give something of a half-hearted cheer while supping their pints and texting their friends. Perhaps they had also been feeling the effects of the sun. Yet in a short sharp set the band demanded and gained our attention until by the end of the performance the disbelievers had put their phones away and were considering themselves well and truly warmed up.
Sons and Lovers greeted us next and looked somewhat nervous while confessing that this was their very first show. Yet by now the crowd were happy and boisterous and had decided not to give them a hard time. They rewarded this enthusiasm with a truly astonishing set that sounded tailor-made for stadium domination. Throwing in elements of Keane, Glasvegas, and U2 (from when they were still good, obviously), and with enough originality not to sound like Bootleg rockers I will lose what little faith I have in humanity if these guys don’t go far.
By the time Minus the Bear stepped onstage to rapturous applause the venue was well and truly packed, while the audience were like a group of twelve year old girls at a Justin Bieber concert. Starting the set with an uproarious Knights was exactly the excuse the patrons needed to engage in joyful fist pumping, the hugging of poor unfortunate strangers, sock throwing, and out of key sing-alongs (which if we are being honest here is the only type of sing-along worth participating in).
Having been known as a ›Math Rock‹ or ›Prog‹ band, their live set at Heaven was simply all about rock music that brought a smile to everyone’s face. Musically proficient and with a warm and welcoming front man Minus the Bear were more crowd pleasing than such a reputation might have suggested. In fact they are perhaps one of the greatest American live bands around today.
Playing a selection of hits both old and new Minus the Bear’s 90 minute set seemed to pass by in the blink of an eye. Songs such as Thanks for the Killer Game of Crisco Twister, and My Time kept everybody happy until the set finished with Pachuca Sunrise which led to such an outpouring of exhilaration that some people had tears in their eyes (and no, it wasn’t just me).
Coming back for a two song encore the band seemed happy and content in the knowledge that this was a job well done. Special mention must go to bass player Cory Murchy who not only treated us to some thunderous basslines but also reflected back the energy and enthusiasm of the crowd perfectly. When the lights went up everyone stood awestruck for a few moments hoping for a second encore, and for this wonderful concert to never come to an end.