Live: The Minus 5 Make Me Happy

The Minus 5 friggin' rock. That's all there is to it. It's like watching a huge midlife crisis explosion right in front of you Ö but instead of the silly toupee, red sports car, and 18 year old girlfriend, these guys get up on stage and abuse their instruments (in a good way) 'til they can't stand up anymore (from exhaustion and/or drunkenness). Last night at the Mercury Lounge NYC, the band was on their third hour of playing when I had to finally call it a night. The sold out house had slowly dissipated to just a handful by then, but the guys were still putting it all out there for the grateful remaining stragglers.

For the uninitiated, The Minus 5 is one of those groups that's not really a group, but not really a solo project either. It's a loose collective of friends who (for the most part) are based in Seattle, centering around Scott
McCaughey, best known as the leader of indie-pop group The Young Fresh Fellows (he also tours with REM). This time, the group is rounded out by REM's Peter Buck (the most consistent member), Ken Stringfellow and Jon Auer of the Posies (Stringfellow also tours with REM), the Model Rockets' John Ramberg, and ex-Ministry member Bill Rieflin.

How to describe their sound? Well, if you mix together some Young Fresh Fellows with some REM and a pinch of the Posies, you get a pretty good ideaóit's rocking, with some definite Southern flavor, some great pop chords, and an occasional weird space jam element. The crowd was an interesting mix of youngish hipsters and a little-bit-older-but-used-to-be-hipsters-who-now-like-Neil-Young-a-lot. The band, lead by McCaughey, ripped through most of their new album, Let the War Against Music Begin, covered The Kinks and the previously mentioned Neil Young, made jokes about their rag tag outfit in between, and put on an all-around excellent show. The music was really tight, but somehow you still felt like it was a totally impromptu showólike we just wandered in and a bunch of friends were playing around and having a blast. Even Peter Buck started smiling halfway through the set! There was also a fair amount of buzz at the back of the tiny club due to the presence of a skulking Michael Stipe, hanging out in support of his bandmate and pals, but really not wanting to be recognized (of course, he was recognized Ö a lot).
Although l'il Stipey may have found himself slightly annoyed, the rest of us enjoyed an amazing show by some fucking brilliant musicians.

Source: Ann Bowles

Live: The Minus 5 Make Me Happy