For those of us who were not lucky enough to score a Coachella ticket (or simply wanted to avoid the desert heat), UCSB’s Associated Students Program Board offered up a nice treat this past Friday. The same night the festival opened its doors, Minus the Bear graced the stage at UCSB’s Hub. And judging by the sold out crowd of 800, I was not the only one happy to only have to travel across campus to see the band. Directly following the show, the guys headed to Indio to play Coachella’s main stage on Saturday afternoon. Portugal the Man, who hail all the way from Alaska, opened for the band, exciting the crowd and prompting sing-alongs almost as much as the evening’s headliners. However, judging by how many people stayed after, Minus the Bear was the real draw of the night. The band falls into that category of music that can most easily be described as “indie prog rock.”
At times their songs seemed to drag on, with the standard three chords being played in succession during the requisite live jam session. But with Minus the Bear, it’s the beat that counts. The rhythm section kept the crowd dancing for the whole show. At one point, the tambourine player (a valuable member of any band) donned a black facemask and danced across the stage, only prompting (you guessed it) more dancing and cheering from the crowd. The intimate setting of the Hub and the energetic reaction to the music seemed to surprise and please the band, as frontman Jake Snider told the packed house, “I wasn’t sure what to expect from this show, but this is great:a lot of fun.” Overall, the show was indeed “great,” and even more importantly the band’s high energy and interaction with the crowd got most of the audience to stay through their whole set, which ended at nearly 1:00 a.m. Hopefully that means that this kind of programming will become a regular treat for students and Santa Barbarians alike.
Stephanie Skidmore is an Independent intern.