Silversun Pickups + Minus The Bear @ MTelus – 11th November 2017

Silversun Pickups MTelus

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I’ve been waiting for this moment all my life…and it was just right.

I remember driving on my way to Morin Heights in 2006 and I was listening to a podcast from Indie 103.1 when I first heard “Lazy Eye”.  To me, it was a perfect song.  It would slowly build up and escalate, just teasing us, and coming back down again, only to wind up once more.  Back and forth till Brian finally lets loose and screams to a crescendo and come back to a mellow jam to finish off.  That voice that is so soft, juxtaposed with heavy guitars and drums, but mixed with just the right volume that makes it magical.  So yes, I’ve been waiting for this moment for a long time.

I entered a very packed MTelus to the sounds of Minus the Bear.  I don’t know what I selected to sample them on YouTube, but I wasn’t into it.  I was wrong and pleasantly surprised at what I heard.  It was clear later in the night that Brian loved them and was grateful to have them on tour.  I looked back to see many dancing to this Seattle band.  Their sound was complex indie rock that you can easily dance to.

Minus the Bear - MTelus
Minus the Bear – MTelus

By the time “Last Kiss” came, they had the audience clapping along and swaying along to their groove, getting us warmed up after braving the cold Montreal streets.

Set List

Give & Take
Into the Mirror
Absinth Party At the Fly Honey Warehouse
The Fix
Diamond Lightning
My Time
Last Kiss
Pachuca Sunrise

Silversun Pickups were greeted with generous applause as they made their way to the stage.  They slowly took their instruments and the lights went dark.  That’s the moment when the butterflies came, which brought with them the opening notes of “Nightlight” from Better Nature.  We all got sucked into their vortex of sound and soon shouted “We want it!” along with Nikki Monninger in her red party dress.

Nikki Monniger | Silversun Pickups
Nikki Monniger | Silversun Pickups

There was a lot of love for Nikki from the crowd, who lost herself in the songs with a cool similar to Kim Gordon.

They next brought us back in time to 2006 for “Well Thought Out Twinkles” off the album that graced my iPod in the Top 25 Most Played Playlist.

Although tonight, six songs would come from Better Nature, it really was a trip through their whole catalogue of albums.

Brian Aubert shows his broken arm | Silversun Pickups
Brian Aubert shows his broken arm | Silversun Pickups

Brian Aubert spoke to the crowd and showed his cast on his right arm, his strumming hand.  He said he fell off a stage and broke it, metal plate and screws now holding it together.  While at the hospital, he was given a flu shot…and got the flu.  Lucky for us, he recovered from the flu, but during one particularly long guitar solo, you can see he was playing through the pain.

Brian said that as they looked over the tour schedule, they said they could NOT miss Montreal, his favorite city on this tour.  “Osheaga is the best festival!”, he said, much to the delight of the crowd.  Seems Brian has a crush on Montreal and that’s fine with me.

Silversun Pickups MTelus
Silversun Pickups MTelus

Brian introduced “Royal We” saying this next song was a little upsetting.  “If you are not into it”, he said, “just go outside or to the bar for a little while.”  Some think this is about war, while many more think it involves the war against drug addiction.

Silversun Pickups MTelus
Silversun Pickups MTelus

“Little Lover’s So Polite” was another classic.  I loved seeing Chritopher Guanlao playing the drums with wild abandon like Animal from the Muppets.  One lonely high Cymbal from his kit stood tall, making it a reach to hit, but so satisfying to see.

“Panic” has this great bass line that carries the song into a classic collaboration of Brian and Nikki on vocals with guitar foreplay that builds up to the guitar solo that Brian played with pain shooting throughout his broken arm.

The last song of the set was easily recognizable as “Lazy Eye”.  Seeing the song live was amazing.  I felt as if everyone in the audience was helping build the energy needed to propel this song as one of the best I’ve seen live.

Silversun Pickup Montreal
Silversun Pickup Montreal

As the band left the stage, the chanting of Ole, Ole, Ole began.  Stomping of the feet and applause reached the backstage and brought the band back for the encore.  Of course, we know the drill.  The encore is even part of the setlist!  But, the tradition continues and tonight, the chanting was loud and clear.  Montreal loves Silversun Pickups!

Brian returns and turns the whole crowd into a date he is trying to win over.  “Where do you want go after this?”, he says playfully, while shyly running his hands to and fro on the neck of the guitar.  His personality just bleeds as fun guy to hang out it.

Brian Aubert
Brian Aubert

They start us off with “Cannibal” which speaks of strangers trying to figure out who they are and the fake persona we create for others.

It was around this time that this tall man cut in front of me and made his way front and center, just in front of a few short girls.  My wife is short, so I’m sensitive to people having a good view.  MTelus security impressed me by seeing this injustice and making the individual leave to give back the view these girls deserved.  A virtual high five to that security dude!

Next was “Dots and Dashes (Enough Already)” but it was “Kissing Families” that was surprising.  The first song from the first album Pikul from 2005, has this certain slow Pixies feel to it.  It’s amazing how a song from over 10 years ago stand strong and are still relevant today.

Silversun Pickups love Montreal and gave it their all.  Brian’s voice might have given up once or twice, maybe the last fight from the flu, but the band played with passion and power.  Brian, Nikki, Christopher and Joe created a memorable night of music spanning their whole history.

“This can be the bitter end.  I know it won’t.” sang Brian & Nikki ending the night.  The show is over, the memories will live on.

Silversun Pickups Setlist
Silversun Pickups Setlist


Well Thought Out Twinkles
The Royal We
Circadian Rhythm (Last Dance)
The Pit
Little Lover’s So Polite
Friendly Fires
Latchkey Kids
Panic Switch
Lazy Eye

Dots and Dashes (Enough Already)
Kissing Families

Review & Photos– Randal Wark is a Professional Speaker and Business coach with a passion for live music.  You can follow him on InstagramTwitter and YouTube.

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