It wasn’t hell, though I can’t imagine it being much worse. So was the case at The Granada for the Minus the Bear show Tuesday July 13 in Lawrence. Arriving shortly before the opener LA based trio Mini Mansions brought their stripped down setup to the stage. The Granada was like a moist oven. It felt as if it was easily ninety five degrees or so in the room. All I could think about before the music began was that I made a very bad choice wearing jeans and how ridiculous it was for the venue to charge two dollars for water and not offer any free. This considering the very unwelcome environment The Granada was. Hopefully the music would help take my mind off the lack of comfort and sail me away to a happier place.
Thankfully I wasn’t let down, though it would prove to be a battle for the bands and the fans. Opener Mini Mansions came on promptly at the venue stated start time of 9. This was the second time I had a chance to catch this LA based trio. They seemed tighter than the last time I caught them back in September while opening for Autolux. The thin early crowd that caught them really got into their show, a large mutton-chopped man from the balcony proclaimed so as he yelled the band’s name at the top of his lungs between songs during their set. It’s hard not to. For a three piece with a stripped down sound that most often consist of Bass, floor tom, snare and a keyboard it can be an energetic, occasionally frantic show. Their harmonizing at times reminded me a bit of the Beatles before they would rocket off into heavier power indie pop. A great primer to the night.
Being a three band bill, Everest was up next. I missed the first couple minutes of their set waiting to get back into the venue as it was cooler outside than in, that’s saying quite a bit for the Midwest in mid July. I was greeted by a band that seemed to be having a blast on stage. The quickly filling venue seemed to be taking their time warming up to them as most were hanging out by the sound board rather than venture on to the floor before the stage. This would change several songs in. Everest was a mixed plate for me. Some of their songs were perfect soaring-convertible top down long drive grooves. Others were straight ahead pop, a couple reminiscent of Coldplay.
Minus the Bear would make their way to the stage for an eager fan base that seemed thrilled to be seeing the band for a second time in a short number of months and this time in a more proper setting sans the blazing sun. For several in the venue it was the second time in the day as a rather sizable portion of the crowd had caught the band’s performance at the Kegs and Eggs event earlier in the day. The band made the best of a bad venue situation. Soldiering on for a crowd that seemed to put the heat behind them, though a friend of mine couldn’t last before the headliner as the heat took him out. The way the band played you couldn’t tell how miserable the place felt. The show was full of the indie prog-pop stylings the Seattle, WA band is best known for. I got a little disgruntled with an audience member near stage right however that kept shouting out names of songs he wished the band would play. I couldn’t quite make out what he was asking for but this is high on my list of show annoyances and ‘how to be a jerk fan 101’. Each energetic burst from the band would make it easy to forget jerk fans and the terrible venue which I hope not to encounter again.
I give Minus the Bear at the Granada 4 “this is not a request show” out of 5
By John Coovert