Friday, July 29, at El Torreon.

Bear Vs. Shark 

Friday, July 29, at El Torreon.

“Given a relatively level playing field — water deep enough so that a shark could maneuver proficiently but shallow enough so that a bear could stand and operate with its characteristic dexterity — who would win in a fight between a bear and a shark?” Chris Bachelder’s brilliant novel Bear V. Shark poses this question, with the titular battle between computer-generated beasts replacing the Super Bowl, awards shows and all other high-profile distractions as the premier spectacle in a technology-saturated future. Bear Vs. Shark the band preserves the bite of Bachelder’s satire. Its dark-toned guitars and urgent drums bring gravity to the band’s hooks, like lacerating social commentary lurking under an amusingly absurd premise. Marc Paffi shouts with genuine passion, recalling Ian MacKaye at his most agitated. The Michigan-based quintet exercises rare restraint, using horns and keys tastefully and leaving riffs raw where adornment would dilute their impact. Oh, and as for the initial inquiry, the shark would totally sever the bear’s legs at the ankles and dominate while its opponent struggled to balance on its stumps.

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