Minus the Bear Pemberton Stage, Pemberton BC, July 18

Minus the Bear Pemberton Stage, Pemberton BC, July 18
Photo: JPG Photography
Technically speaking, Pemberton Music Festival started on Wednesday, but it wasn't until Friday, July 18, that the event got into full swing. As fans were filing in and setting up tents at the campground, Seattle's Minus the Bear were the first group to appear on the Pemberton main stage.

At first, the turnout was sparse, with just a couple dozen fans gathered near the barricade; it was so quiet that frontman Jake Snider made his initial greeting without a microphone, and this was heralded with scattered applause. But the spiky post-punk of set opener "Steel and Blood" quickly attracted listeners, and the audience swelled as fans flocked in. Snider won over many of these new arrivals by praising the beauty of the surroundings, marvelling at the "mountains and fucking mountains and mountains and mountains."

When the singer wasn't admiring the scenery, he led the five-piece in a set that emphasized darkly danceable material, with angular rhythms and fleet-fingered fretboard tapping. "Summer Angel," on the other hand, ventured into a dreamier direction with its harmonized hook and woozy wah-wah solo.

While the set wasn't a stunner, the tightly orchestrated six-string workouts got onlookers dancing, making Minus the Bear and apt way for festival goers to kick off their weekend on at the main stage.