The Minus 5
Tractor Tavern; Seattle, WA

There's nothing like a good time
with pop. Pop, in this case, being a double entendre for a genre of music and
The Minus 5's head honcho Scott McCaughey. Spouting self-important wisdom
through the lip of a Pabst Blue Ribbon can, Scott wasted no time dazzling the
packed audience with casual conversation and 3-minute pop delights. Few can
pull off the tattered hair and sunglasses look, but Scott has the look down
pat. It's a happy time when a man twice the age of his peers can put them to
shame on a stage.

The true beauty of The Minus 5 isn't to see Peter Buck up close and
lackadaisical or to watch Scott McCaughey wax poetic about sexy food, but to
enjoy a good, old-fashioned rock and roll show strictly on the merit of
clever, hook-laden pop. There isn't a need for a 15 piece band, a horn
section, or more pedals and contraptions than instruments. Seeing The Minus 5
on stage with the bare bones of primitive rock is a thrill unto itself.
Whether the band stuck close to recent releases (At the Organ and The
Gun Album
) or mixed in a cover (Warren Zevon's "Carmelita"), it didn't
matter. For a change all pretense was thrown out in favor of substance. I like
a thinking man's show just a much as the next fan. I enjoy the fervor and
manic pace of a noise performance. There is truly nothing as heartwarming as
some twang chased down with a few shots of whiskey. However, none of those
shows can ever replicate the sheer, uninhibited enjoyment of going to a bar,
having a couple of cheap beers, and watching four guys just tear into pop song
after pop song with no cares. In fact, McCaughey's stage banter is just as
entertaining and personal as his music. I caught myself hoping he'd ramble on
a little more about burritos, mashed potatoes, and Portland. Dry wit is a rare
commodity in the world of indie rock


The Minus 5 are the perfect change-up to your concert-going routine (unless,
of course, your routine is just seeing The Minus 5). It's nice to lose
yourself in a 40 minute set and not have to think about the lyrics or the
music or the innovation. The pleasure is in drinking your Stroh's, moving your
feet, and bobbing your head. We forget about the heart and soul of music — the
primal band and audience connection. The Minus 5 won't let your ignore those
basic instincts ever again.

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