Five years ago, local indie-rock outfit Bee Movie the Band opened for touring headliner Geographer in what would be up the former’s last-ever show. Since then, singer/guitarist Brian Cantrell has taken on new roles in different projects—he taught us how to play guitar as the disco dynamo Steve on Kid Meets Cougar’s Sierra Papa Tango EP, and he recently joined Same Sex Mary, lending his gigantic, fuzzy riffs to that bluesy garage-rock band.
Last week, Cantrell brought new passion to his old flame. Now performing as Bee Master, Bee Movie veterans Brett Bolton (drums), Mike Montoya (bass) and Cantrell, plus Mercy Music’s Brendan Scholz (guitar), took to the Bunkhouse stage with fists full of new material (an album preview is available at beemaster.bandcamp.com).
While the music scene was certainly different half a decade ago (for one, the Bunkhouse resembled the inside of a giant ashtray), Wednesday’s show was a testament to Vegas’ onward-and-upward nature; the crowd filled with familiar faces and a communal sense of nostalgia.
And Bee Master delivered the right amount of wreckage. With Cantrell’s and Scholz’s sharp, blazing guitars and wildly spontaneous solos, Bee Master tore through its set with hints of post-hardcore, punk and mathy rock. “We are insects trapped in amber/We are roaches on our backs/Our tiny limbs/They can’t grasp time,” Cantrell sings on the Slaughterhouse-Five-influenced “Cryogenics.” That song, along with other never-released tracks recorded in the Bee Movie days, will be released on an upcoming album this spring, Bolton says.
At the end of the set, Cantrell took a moment to thank his friends for coming—a blip of intimacy to end an otherwise thunderous show. It almost felt like the old days—or perhaps, proof that new incarnations can be even better.