MINUS THE BEAR: Planet Of Ice Anniversary Tour

Neighborhood Theatre & MaxxMusic present

MINUS THE BEAR: Planet Of Ice Anniversary Tour

The Coathangers

Sun, April 22, 2018

Doors: 7:00 pm / Show: 8:00 pm

Neighborhood Theatre

Charlotte, NC

$25 adv/$28 dos

$3 Under 21 Surcharge at Door (Valid ID required for entry into venue. Under 18 permitted with parent.)

Accepted forms of ID: State Issued ID or Driver's License, Military ID, Passport.

MINUS THE BEAR
MINUS THE BEAR
Over the course of their 15-year career, Minus the Bear have carved out their own unique musical world. This isn’t to say they’re impervious to outside influence. They’ve borrowed components from a wide swath of genres—the brainy clangor of New York’s proto-punk scene, the cerebral buzz of IDM, the poptimist evaluation of hip-hop and R&B, and the grandiose visions of prog rock—but always managed to defy classification. Throughout the first decade of their existence, every new album offered a new musical approach, as seen in the idiosyncratic fretboard gymnastics of Highly Refined Pirates, the glitchy loops of Menos el Oso, or the modernized Fripp-inspired wizardry of Planet of Ice. By the time the band entered our current decade, their knack for reinvention yielded to an emphasis on refinement. Albums like OMNI and Infinity Overhead searched for a middle ground where their myriad of stylistic approaches could all work within the context of a single record.

On their sixth album VOIDS, Minus the Bear started with a blank slate, and inadvertently found themselves applying the same starting-from-scratch strategies that fueled their initial creative process. “There was a lot of change and uncertainty,” says guitarist David Knudson. “I think the general vibe of emptiness, replacement, lacking, and longing to fill in the gaps was very present in everyones’ minds.” Change was everywhere. Keyboardist/vocalist Alex Rose took on a more prominent role in composition and handled lead vocal duties on songs like “Call the Cops,” “Tame Beasts,” and “Robotic Heart,” drummer Kiefer Matthias joined the fold, producer Sam Bell lent a fresh set of ears in the studio, and the band returned to their original label home at Suicide Squeeze Records. Minus the Bear were no longer swept along by the momentum that had driven them for the last fifteen years. Instead, they reached a point where they could recalibrate and redefine who they were as a musical entity. The resulting album VOIDS retains many of the band’s signature qualities—the hedonistic tales of nighttime escapism and candid vignettes of adulthood, the savvy up-tempo beats, the layered and nuanced instrumentation—while simultaneously reminding us of the musical wanderlust that initially put them on the map.

Album opener “Last Kiss” immediately establishes the band’s renewed fervor. An appropriately dizzying guitar line plunges into a propulsive groove before the chorus unfolds into a multi-tiered pop chorus. From there the album flows into “Give & Take”, a tightly wound exercise in syncopation that recalls the celebratory pulse of early Bear classics like “Fine + 2 Pts” while exploring new textures and timbres. “Invisible” is arguably the catchiest song of the band’s career, with Jake Snider’s vocal melodies and Knudson’s imaginative guitar work battling for the strongest hooks. “What About the Boat?” reminds us of the “math-rock” tag that followed the band in their early years, with understated instrumentation disguising an odd-time beat. “Erase,” recalls the merging of forlorn indie pop and electronica that the band dabbled with on their early EPs, but demonstrates the Bear’s ongoing melodic sophistication and tonal exploration. By the time the band reaches album closer “Lighthouse,” they’ve traversed so much sonic territory that the only appropriate tactic left at their disposal is a climactic crescendo, driven at its peak by Cory Murchy’s thunderous bass. Not since Planet of Ice’s “Lotus” has the Bear achieved such an epic finale. All in all, it’s an album that reminds us of everything that made us fall in love with Minus the Bear in the first place, and a big part of that appeal is the sense that the band is heading into uncharted territories.

Minus the Bear is Jake Snider (vocals, guitar), David Knudson (guitar), Cory Murchy (bass) and Alex Rose (keyboards, saxophone, vocals, programming).
The Coathangers
The Coathangers
Be leery of any punk band with initial ambitions that go beyond just playing shows with their friends. Sure, great bands ascend beyond basements and handmade demos all the time, but the best acts start with little consideration for the outside world. The groups are their own insular worlds, where the reward comes from the process, not accolades and riches. And the bands that thrive on their own artistic satisfaction usually wind up being the bands that are able to grow beyond the donation jar into sustainable successful musical careers. Their charisma is contagious, their songs exist outside of fads, and their spirits can weather the inevitable ups and downs of life as touring musicians. Such is the case with the Atlanta trio The Coathangers.

When The Coathangers started up in 2006, their aspirations were humble. “I think all bands in their early twenties start for fun,” says guitarist/vocalist Julia Kugel when talking about their early years of cheeky no-wave and irreverent garage rock. But Julia and her bandmates Meredith Franco (bass/vocals) and Stephanie Luke (drums/vocals) were serious about their craft, and that combination of modest outside expectations and absolute dedication to their music made for exhilarating live shows and contagious records. Ten years later, The Coathangers are still going strong, and while their palette has expanded over the years to touch upon hip-shakin’ classic rock, soulful country ballads, and golden oldies pop, their primary attack strategy still relies heavily on the jagged hooks and boisterous choruses of their formative years. Their fifth album Nosebleed Weekend retains all the devil-may-care magnetism and serrated instrumentation of their debut, but it flourishes with a decade’s worth of songwriting discipline and chemistry.

Nosebleed Weekend kicks off with “Perfume”, a song that marries sultry pop vocals with toothy guitar riffs in a manner that would make Ann and Nancy Wilson proud. It’s hard to imagine The Coathangers writing a song this accessible in their early years, but in 2016 it fits perfectly into their canon. From there the band launches into “Dumb Baby”, which harkens back to the gritty neo-garage rock of Murder City Devils. Longtime fans who still clamor for their brash post-punk angle will be immediately satiated by “Squeeki Tiki”. And after hearing the noisy loud-quiet-loud bombast of “Excuse Me?” it’s no wonder that Kim Gordon has become an outspoken fan of the band. It’s an eclectic album inspired by life on the road, lost loved ones, and Kugel’s recent move to Southern California. “We always say that each record is a snapshot of our life at the time,” Kugel says. “As far as style… it’s just what came out of us at that point.” So whether it’s the foreboding garage rock of the title track, the post-punk groove of “Burn Me”, the stripped-down pop of “I Don’t Think So”, or the dynamic grunge of “Down Down”, The Coathangers command their songs with passion and authority.

The biggest departure for Nosebleed Weekend was the recording process. While all their previous albums were recorded in Atlanta at The Living Room with Ed Rawls, their latest album found the band out in California’s North Hollywood at Valentine Recording Studios with Nic Jodoin. “The Beach Boys and Bing Crosby both recorded there!” Kugel says excitedly. “It was an amazing experience, not to mention a ghostly one too. The studio had been custom built by Jimmy Valentine and he was very protective of his passion. It sounds weird, but his spirit was there, checking in on us and fucking with us a bit.” Nosebleed Weekend was the first session at Valentine Recording Studios since Jimmy’s professional interests were diverted elsewhere in 1979. The studio doors were shut, capturing a time capsule of the LA music industry back in the ‘70s. Thinking back to the early years of The Coathangers, it’s hard to imagine the scrappy Southern ladies ever recording in a historic studio in the San Fernando Valley, but it’s a classic demonstration of what can happen when humble young punks stick to their guns.
Venue Information:
Neighborhood Theatre
511 East 36th Street
Charlotte, NC, 28205
http://www.neighborhoodtheatre.com/