[ATTENDED: August 7, 2014] Mimicking Birds
I was excited to get tickets for Modest Mouse, a band I have liked for years but had never seen. And I was pleased to see that Mimicking Birds was opening. They’re a band I knew a little (I liked one song and had listened to their albums online). I liked their newer album more than the first, which was a little generic folkie to me.
We had just come home from vacation, and I had the 45 min drive to Sayreville ahead of me. So I called the theater and they told me Mimicking Birds would go on at 8:15. Last time, they estimated very early, so I left late, figured I’d get there at 8:15 and waltz in to see my friend Jay who I haven’t seen since we left the same job almost 2 years ago.
Well, a little detour on the way down delayed me somewhat, but nothing prepared me for the huge line waiting outside the place. It seems that will-call is the more sensible way to go than actually bringing your tickets, as you don’t have to wait in line–weird. So, I wound up missing half of their set and then spent the first song I heard looking for Jay. When we finally met, I was able to hear the very end of their set, including singing a happy birthday to the bassist.
According to setlist.com, recent shows have them playing 8 songs in their opening slot. So I figure that I heard half of the set.
When I walked in, it sounded like they were playing a theremin. But there was no theremin. In fact, all four guys were standing very close together, with two guitars and a bass and a drummer all huddled together. I couldn’t even figure out who was playing the theremin sound. It was either the acoustic guitar processed or the drummer.
And here’s what i really liked about the band–they play some fairly conventionally styled folk songs, but the songs are littered with electronics–from the interesting effects the bassist pops into the songs (very electronic drumming on the final song) to the very non-acoustic guitar sounds that the band plays with during the songs. And it was far more complex and interesting live than on record. Perhaps most interesting is the vocalist–a unique falsetto that is arresting and compelling at the same time.
I’m bummed I didn’t get to see the whole set, although Jay had to wait 40 minutes before the band came on, so I’m not sure whose situation is worse.
During the set, Jay texted me that the bassist from Modest Mouse was standing near him, and when I arrived he was still there (not that I would have recognized him). He said that the violinist from MM was there earlier also watching the opening act. So that’s pretty cool. Next opening act I see there I’ll have to hang out in the same place.
Picture to follow (but hardly worth the wait it’s so blurry).