As any student representative knows, it is nearly impossible to make everyone happy. But junior Tucker Shouse, Programmer for ASUPS Entertainment, is confident that there might be a way to bring the campus together: rock and roll.
Next Friday April 8, the Field House will host Seattle-based indie rock innovators Minus the Bear, backed by the up-and-coming People Eating People. Tickets are now on sale at the Info Center at $12 for students.
Shouse understands that selecting a band that appeals to such a varied student body needed to be approached with care. The way he understands it, there are two major spheres of music listeners on campus: the indie rock guitar-lovers and the hip-hop/rap fans.
Minus the Bear is the ideal band to bridge this gap. The band’s website labels them as “a prog pop indie rock band.” “If you’re into guitar effects and changing time signatures and tempos, you’ll like them. If you want a band with a great atmosphere and audience, you’ll like them,” Shouse said.
Minus the Bear’s legacy is well known in the Pacific Northwest. Their 2002 debut LP, Highly Refined Pirates, illustrates memories of rain-soaked evenings on the Puget Sound, drinking wine and driving too fast. Since then, their music has progressed into a more technically-driven sound, manifest onstage by lead guitarist Dave Knudson’s passionate stomping on distortion pedals through each track.
“I think they’re a very good representation of what the Seattle music community is all about,” Shouse said.
In 2010, Minus the Bear released Omni, an expansive prog rock album demonstrating the band’s experimental leaps of late. Shouse recognized that while the sound might not immediately appeal to everyone on campus, attending the concert would be a chance to glimpse a great rock band on the up and up.
“In two years, I can see them going through the same kind of explosion that happened to the Black Keys or Kings of Leon,” he said. He respectfully and humorously urged students to see them before the radio and movie trailers overplay their music.
The process of scheduling Minus the Bear to play at Puget Sound wasn’t easy. “It’s really hard to get the Field House on a Friday or Saturday,” Shouse said. Luckily, ASUPS was able to reserve the time and get what Shouse called “the best bang for our buck.”
Signing a contract with a rock band is complex. Since the Field House can’t offer the same amenities as Minus the Bear’s normal venues—late start times and alcohol sales for the audience—their contract had to be revised multiple times before all involved parties would sign.
April being one of the busiest months on campus, the delay caused by this contract revision created an overlap in events. Minus the Bear’s concert will coincide with several events on campus: B-GLAD’s 9th Annual Drag Show (supporting the Puget Sound LGBTQIA Leadership Scholarship), Up at the Senior Theatre Festival, and the Jacobsen Series’ Opera performances.
Recently elected ASUPS President Marcus Luther is apologetic about the scheduling conflicts. “One of the goals of our new administration is to work harder to achieve better correspondence between both ASUPS and student groups, with the hopes of minimizing the amount of times that unfortunate schedule conflicts occur,” he said.
Shouse was adamant that Puget Sound’s hosting Minus the Bear is meant only to be positive for the campus community. “This event is your campus trying to do something great,” he said.
The Minus the Bear concert is intended to offer the best experience possible for the greatest number of people in the effort of creating what Luther referred to as a “collective identity” on campus.
“I’m very happy with Minus the Bear. It’s going to be one of those concerts where even if you don’t know the artist you’re going to be blown away and go home and download all their stuff. You would be missing out if you didn’t at least come to see what it’s all about,” Shouse said.
ASUPS is confident that Minus the Bear’s April 8 Field House concert will satisfy all tastes on campus. More than anything, the band’s technical dexterity and rich lyricism are worth seeing in themselves.
[PHOTO COURTESY / MINUS THE BEAR]