[ATTENDED: July 20, 2015] Modest Mouse
Just as I had seen Neil Young less than a year ago, so I had seen Modest Mouse less than a year ago. The last show I saw with them was a sort of preview of the then unreleased new album. Now the album is out and there’s a single from it and everything. This show was announced very quickly and it was in the Levitt Pavillion at Steelstacks, a venue I didn’t know, but which I will certainly return to.
It was awesome being about seven or 8 people away from Isaac to really watch him go nuts.
Modest Mouse can be really catchy, but they are often dissonant and Brock is known for being prickly. So, imagine starting off your show with the third from the last song from your new album. And from there, Brock sang and raged and jumped around and was a total maniac.
He seemed to get shocked twice (from sweating a lot?–it was 85 degrees at night) and said “Did you see that? That hurt so much!” And man can he yell.
He can go from reasonably quiet to super loud at the drop of a hat (like in “Paper Thin Walls,” a favorite of mine. It’s also interesting the way he lifts his guitar flat or sideways at the end of a verse or chorus. He has pretty interesting stage mannerisms.
The last time I saw them, they didn’t play any “hits.” But this time they played “Lampshades on Fire” as the third song. The crowd went nuts. But in fairness, this crowd was a diehard bunch and they knew the words to everything. They also played “Float On,” a song they decidedly did not play last time. This one was interesting because before the song ended properly, Brock interrupted the song to tell some kind of story that might have had something to do with the song. Who knows, it’s not always clear if Brock is messing with us or is genuinely crazy). It was also interesting that they played “Float On” two songs after “The World at Large” which on the record bleeds into “Float On.”
I love that they played “Bukowski” with the refrain of “God, who’d want to be, God who’d want to be such an asshole?” (which happened just as two drunken assholes shoved their way past us to the front of the stage.
It was during “This Devil’s Workday” (which they played last time) that I was struck by what I saw on stage: Brock playing banjo, two people playing horns (one of the roadies came out to play trumpet) and one person playing violin: standard folk set up and yet this was the un-folkest song I’ve ever heard. The song was loud an propulsive and full of crazy energy–who would have expected such dissonance from such friendly instruments.
As with the last time, they played songs from throughout the band’s career, with three songs from Lonesome Crowded West. I was super psyched to hear “Doin’ the Cockraoch” a totally unexpected song that I really like. Although they did none from Long Drive–I thought we’d hear “Dramamine” again, but that’s fine.
At one point (wish I could remember which song) he started singing/yelling into the pickup of his guitar. He had the guitar up by his head and he was singing into it. The picture on the left is blurry (how do people get such clear band photos with their phones?) but it conveys what was going on. The biggest surprises came when they played an Ugly Casanova song (I didn’t realize that’s what it was, but was very surprised to read about it later) and when they played “Night on the Sun” which comes from a rarities collection.
I already spoke about the venue, but I have to insert here that this venue was so cool to see Modest Mouse. I was a few rows from the front, standing on grassy pavilion with a cool breeze wafting through from time to time. It was pretty awesome.
After about a dozen songs though, I had to move places–the crowd was getting a little unpleasant and it was really hot, so I moved back a ways. I definitely lost some of the intensity I had, but it was still not too far away. Even backing out I was really close to the stage and still got some good pictures. And the way the crowd was pogoing for “Black Cadillac” made me glad I moved.
The main set ended with the super funky “Tiny Cities Made of Ashes.” It was fun to be in the back where everyone was dancing to that cool bassline and then screaming along to “Does anybody know a way that a body could get away Does anybody know a way.”
Like last time the band took a really long time to come back for the encore. In this venue, it allowed me to walk around, take some great pictures of the full venue, check out the merch table (I like the Modest Mouse shirts (this one had a buffalo on it) but not enough to spend $25. Amazingly, the Gene Ween shirts had sold out!).
I walked to the opposite side of the stage, thinking I’d check them out from that side this time. But the view wasn’t very good, and let’s face it, you want to be by Isaac, so I went back to the right just in time for them to come out and play a four song encore!
Continuing with the Moon and Antarctica, they played “Gravity Rides Everything” with Isaac on acoustic guitar. And then the fun, mellow “Pups to Dust” with that cool echoing harmonic sound and the “scrubby scrubby scrubby scrub” line clearly stated. They played a rousing version of “A Different City” (all that Moon and Antarctica stuff saved for the end). And they ended (like last time) with a rousing sing along of “The Good Times Are Killing Me.”
For this show, Brock’s between song banter was even crazier. I assume it’s all an act, but man he just makes no sense (and even yelled at us saying we make no sense). There was one part where he called out a guy for doing something and the people around him started chanting “asshole” and Brock told them to stop saying it. he said the guy was just being a dick and that he (Brock) is also a dick, and that’s okay, it makes things more interesting.
The last time I wrote about Modest Mouse, I complained about the crowd, and I have to again this time. There was a drunken belligerent trio in front of us. The one guy took off his shirt (sweaty and gross, ew) and kept turning around and singing at the girl in between us (who did not know him or like him by the end). I know that’s how people act at shows, especially general admission, but it was lame. And what’s with people having loud conversations during songs? That’s not just Modest Mouse, but seriously, wtf I shouldn’t be able to hear you over this massively loud band.
So I’m kind of annoyed about Modest Mouse fans, although in fairness, as I said they know all the words.
Overall this show was better than the last show–I’m sure the venue and my location made it a lot more enjoyable (although it would have been great to see this show with my friend Jay as well–but he’s off on his own Modest Mouse blitz).
According to the setlists, they played more songs last time, but this show was also 2 hours and 10 or 15 minutes, so it’s not like we felt shortchanged or anything. But man, they must be exhausted, especially in that humidity.
|Starland Ballroom, 2014||Steelstacks Pavillion 2015|
|Cowboy Dan [LCW]||The Tortoise and the Tourist [StO]|
|Dark Center Of The Universe [M&A]||Paper Thin Walls [M&A]|
|Invisible [WWDBTSES]||Lampshades on Fire [StO]|
|Lampshades On Fire [new/StO]||Out of Gas [LCW]|
|Dramamine [TIALDFSWNTTA]||Dashboard [WWDBTSES]|
|> Life Like Weeds (Tease) [M&A]||Bukowski [GNFPWLBN]|
|This Devil’s Workday [GNFPWLBN]||This Devil’s Workday [GNFPWLBN]|
|Satin In A Coffin [GNFPWLBN]||Here’s to Now (Ugly Casanova cover)|
|Fire It Up [WWDBTSES]||The Best Room [StO]|
|Coyotes [new/StO]||Doin’ the Cockroach [LCW]|
|Dashboard [WWDBTSES]||The World at Large [GNFPWLBN]|
|Pistol (A. Cunanan, Miami, FL. 1996) [new/StO]||Night on the Sun [EaHNPT]|
|Talking Shit About A Pretty Sunset [TIALDFSWNTTA]||Float On [GNFPWLBN]|
|Wild Packs Of Family Dogs [M&A]||The Ground Walks, With Time in a Box [StO]|
|Tiny Cities Made Of Ashes [M&A]||Black Cadillacs [GNFPWLBN]|
|Shit In Your Cut [new/StO]||Styrofoam Boots/It’s All Nice on Ice, Alright [LCW]|
|Black Cadillacs [GNFPWLBN]||Tiny Cities Made of Ashes [M&A]|
|Spitting Venom [WWDBTSES]||encore|
|Shit Luck [LCW]||Gravity Rides Everything [M&A]|
|Trailer Trash [LCW]||Pups to Dust [StO]|
|encore||A Different City [M&A]|
|Heart Cooks Brain [LCW]||The Good Times Are Killing Me [GNFPWLBN]|
|The World At Large [GNFPWLBN]|
|Paper Thin Walls [M&A]|
|The Good Times Are Killing Me [GNFPWLBN]|