The Riviera Theater was graced with 2 fantastic bands in the form of Silversun Pickups and Minus the Bear on Wednesday evening. A night that would normally most surely sell out, but had the competition of a 3 night LCD Soundsystem run just down the street. That didn’t hinder SSPU or Minus from putting on a fantastic hit filled night. And to have Brian Aubert from SSPU riddled with the flu as well as a broken arm, he gave 110% and still had fans loving every moment of the night.
Minus the Bear, who hails from Seattle Washington, opened the night with their beautiful prog rock sound. Touring in support of their most recent album, Voids, I was hoping to hear a longer set from them. They were on point during their entire 10 song set. Full of energy and passion, Jake Snider and the rest of the guys could have kept playing and no one would have minded. The song “Last Kiss” really worked well live. The next time Minus the Bear rolls through Chicago, a headlining show needs to happen again.
Now Silversun Pickups have had a dedicated fanbase in Chicago for quite sometime. This was like a homecoming show for them and they dug deep into their catalog. Being that this is the homestretch of their touring in response to their most recent album, Better Nature, they decided to just have fun on stage. Brian did apologize on several occasions with the fact that his voice was thrashed from having the flu. Fans were more than eager to lend a hand and sing the parts that he may have struggled with. This made for an entertaining set that you felt so much more a part of.
And with Brian having his right arm broken, he was slow to switch guitars in between songs, but that was it. He still played hard and with furious passion. If he was in pain, you would have never known. He was in a zone and just played his heart out. Nikki was her typical boisterous self that fans know and love. Full of energy jumping continuously throughout the set with her ever infectious smile lighting up the theater. Christopher Guanlo may have been at the back of the stage, but his talent on the drums draws your attention to him time and time again during their set. An absolute fury on his kit. And Joe Lester may be the most subdued of the quartet, but his calculated precision on the keys is what truly rounds out this band perfectly.
The set started out with a bang jumping into their first hit off the new album, “Nightlight”. The show never dipped after that. It was a churning out of so many great tracks and the entire venue was engaged right up till the end. The only thing I left wondering was if Brian had not been sick and had a broken arm, would they have played longer and pumped out even more amazing songs. Until next time, which unfortunately may not be till 2019 at the earliest. They will be returning to the studio to work on a new album, but we may get lucky with them popping up at a festival here and there. Until then, the East Coast, Canada, and finally the West Coast will be seeing the final shows of the Better Nature tour. Seattle may get a pretty solid tour closing night.
Minus the Bear Setlist:
- Give & Take > 2. Knights > 3. Into the Mirror > 4. Absinthe Party at the Fly Honey Warehouse > 5. Throwin’ Shapes > 6. Diamond Lightning > 7. My Time > 8. Last Kiss > 9. Invisible > 10. Pachuca Sunrise
Silversun Pickups Setlist:
- Intro (Cradle (Better Nature) – Intro) > 2. Nightlight > 3. Well Thought Out Twinkles > 4. The Royal We > 5. Circadian Rhythm (Last Dance) > 6. The Pit > 7. Tapedeck > 8. Little Lovers So Polite > 9. Friendly Fires > 10. Latchkey Kids > 11. Panic Switch > 12. Ragamuffin > 13. Lazy Eye (Growing Old is Getting Old intro) > Encore: 14. Cannibal > 15. Dots and Dashes (Enough Already) > 16. Kissing Families