I haven't seen my friend Mr. Kool in a while, but he has a knack for out of the blue random texts that include a concert invite and a "I will not take no for an answer". I got us into the Of Montreal show for free, so he offered to buy my ticket to see Minus The Bear, and of course I couldn't say no.
We met up at The Whiskey Bar, but as I'm not drinking right now it was nothing but diet soda for me. It's strange how being sober either prompts people to ask you questions as to why or mock you for consciously making a decision not to drink; "You have one more soda and I'm gonna have to cut you off, young lady". They never just accept it. Funny thing was, although this was an all ages show and typically the kids drive me crazy, it was the drunk people that were more annoying. The kids were cool, and just there to enjoy the music.
I had high hopes for this photo when I saw it in my viewfinder, but when I processed it at home I noticed it was too blurry. As my concert photography grows, I'm more and more seeing the need for a new camera...ugh. There were quite a few SLR's out in the audience. There was a guy in front of me who had a D300 and was just holding up the camera high and shooting, all point and shoot style. There was another guy with crazy lenses dead center in the audience who seemed to be working for the band and then there was a girl on the side of the stage who was shooting with two film cameras. Each time she took a shot she would smile, pull the lever to advance to the next frame and then shoot again. I was in awe.
The show was a benefit for John Spalding, who is a local musician that died recently of lung cancer. The line up was long, but we spent some time at The Whiskey Bar so we didn't get there until The Cave Singers took to the stage.
I really loved this band. I had heard of them before, but never took a listen to any of their stuff. They had a blusey, warm and melodic feel. I took comfort in it, as did the crowd who I could feel swaying with the music. When the lead singer Pete Quirk would tap his feet you could feel the floor pounding in unison.
Rocky Votolato took the stage next and other than a great solo performance at the end, I yawned and raised my eyebrows at their set. They did a cover of "Spanish Bombs" by The Clash that was a travesty. However, it's possible that they might have been a little broken up by the loss of their friend and that effected their performance.
Minus the Bear took the stage and the crowd went crazy. They are a local band that I never took the time to listen to, mostly because I was under the assumption that there sound was something different. Mr. Kool had seen them two times previous and like the rest of the audience he was singing along.
Crowd surfing ensued and the band just fed off the energy. They flowed easily from one song to the next and surprisingly there was two songs that I recognized.
I instantly fell in love with the guitarist, Dave Knudson. I'm a sucker for pedals and this guy worked them in a way that reminiscent of Johnny Greenwood's aggressive style. I wanted to grab a shot of them after the show, but per usual when alcohol and girlfriends are involved, there was drama and Mr. Kool had to take off immediately after the first encore song. After running down to say a quick in person apology to my adoptive brother for a horrible NYE, I headed home proud that I hadn't spent a dime but still had a great night filled with good friends and great music...and for a good cause.