Sunday, August 5, 2007

Live Review: Modest Mouse

August 3rd, 2007

City Market

Kansas City, MO

Last Friday's Modest Mouse show is best described as hot and bothered. Temperatures were still near 90 degrees after dark with little to no breeze, not that a breeze would have been felt among the hundreds of people congregated so tightly around the stage. Also, there were plenty of distractions that made the actual music hard to focus on at times. I'll spare you some of the more moot details, but I will say this: Now that Modest Mouse have legitimate hit songs and records, they attract a crowd that would have never set foot inside a Modest Mouse show a decade ago. Of course, this is great for the band, the promoters, the radio stations that play them, etc, but shitty for others who actually, God forbid, enjoy hearing "Bukowski".

I'll get off my soapbox now, I swear.

Modest Mouse are still playing mostly new material, and the few old tunes were fairly predictable. "Paper Thin Walls", "Tiny Cities Made of Ashes", and "Doin' the Cockroach" are all pretty much standards now. The only major surprise of the evening was "Out of Gas", which honestly sounded out of place among so many crisper, professional sounding songs. Still, despite the distractions and the predictable set list, the show was quite enjoyable. The Good News songs still sound fresh and relevant, and revisiting those songs after quite some time was very refreshing for yours truly. The aforementioned "Bukowski" was a treat, as was the raucous and distorted "Satin In a Coffin". Surprisingly absent from the set was "Ocean Breathes Salty", but energizing "The View", one of Good News' more underrated songs, more than made up for it. The main highlights of the set were the longer jams: "Don't the Cockroach", which swelled to over ten minutes, and the brain melting, 15-20 minute long "Spitting Venom". The song, already an immediate standout from their latest album, We Were Dead Before the Ship Even Sank, also stole the live show. The headphone friendly outro got the Neil Young treatment in concert, complete with messy guitar solos, feedback (intentional and accidental), and yelps from front man Issac Brock. I couldn't have asked for a better, more appropriate ending to the show.

A quick unrelated aside: As girlfriend and I were leaving in a herd of hot, sweaty human bodies, Sigur Ros could be heard coming from the PA speakers. I have to say that stomping on the thousands of littered plastic cups in sync to the opening of "Glosoli" was indeed a unique experience.

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