>> Between The Coathangers’ opening set and Minus the Bear’s headlining one, Tuesday’s show filled Town Ballroom with a mix of sounds - some good, some bad, and some that were truly marvelous.
The Coathangers went on with a scarcely filled venue before them as people filtered in from the massive line outside, or from the bar. As a band that’s been developing for more than a decade, their range of sound was both intriguing and entertaining to some, and off-putting to others - seemingly a perfect contrast to the seasoned veterans of Minus the Bear. Their punk attitude is apparent from their dark attire, fun nicknames of Rusty, Crook Kid, and Minnie Coathanger and the nature of their diverse sound, ranging from modern and retro punk, at times teeming into grundy territory, while harkening all the way to ‘60s tunes that were packed with harmonized melodies … with the occasional mic’d up rubber duck thrown in for good measure. The Coathangers are unapologetically themselves - a mentality that shines through their stage attitude and lyrics - but they aren’t for everyone.
While The Coathanger’s range kept most people entertained, the venue quickly filled once they wrapped up their set with “Squeeki Tiki” - a song packed with the unmistakable sound of a rubber duck belting into a microphone. It was just one example in a string of moments that prove the band is worth a shot if you’ll give them one. Fun, energetic, punky, and very self-aware.
Next came the moment the now packed venue had been waiting for, the arrival of a band set to play one of, if not, their most beloved album, Planet of Ice: Minus the Bear. Following a band packed with enjoyable randomness, Minus has had the same set up for years: Dave Snider (frontman, vocalist and guitarist) on the right, Alex Rose (synth magician, keyboardist, and backup vocalist) on the left, Cory Murchy (bass guitarist) and Dave Knudson (guitarist) in the middle with Joshua Sparks hammering out the drums in the back. Their mix of crisp vocals, beefy guitar riffs, and synth bliss has been ironed out over the years to near perfection, and their 17 song set was proof of that. The band quickly dove into “Ice Monster,” “Knights” and “White Mystery” as fans bopped and sang along and ended half their set on “Lotus” - one of the album’s final songs. Their intensity and energy, like their music, varies from chill indie rock to full on alt-rock, allowing some lulls for the crowd to just embrace the melody before bringing the energy dial backup. “Well, yeah, it felt really good to play that album,” Dave jested to the crowd, while the band was only halfway through their set. The band played a music spanning most of their career, including “Last Kiss” of their latest album, “Voids,” all the way back to their 2004 EP “Bands Like It When You Yell, YAR, At Them,” capping everything off by sneaking “Invisible” into their set list and closing it out with “Dayglow Vista Rd.” The band played everything a fan would want, with a few lesser-known songs worth bringing back into the fold.
A night filled with some pleasant randomness and great music is never wasted, especially on National Concert Day - The Coathangers and Minus the Bear provided just that. <<