Thursday, July 22, 2010

Event Review: Modest Mouse at The Paolo Soleri Ampitheatre

It's been more than a couple weeks since I got to see Modest Mouse live, and I must warn that some set list specifics might be off, or even a memory of the event could be askew, so forgive my frail old-man-mind. Oh and as another side note, I'm not a mega-fan of Modest Mouse, so I won't remember every obscure as fuck song "they played off that one EP from before "Float On" became popular and they sold out".

I'll start by explaining how excited I was for this show, I bought my ticket a few months in advance, and I was more than willing to spend 40 bucks to basically see only them, as the other band interested me none, and I was sure the same held for every other ticket holder. On top of that, I was willing to take the hour long trek from my home of Albuquerque to our capital Santa Fe to see these guys at a place I knew nothing about, the Paolo Soleri, an ampitheater which seemed to hold a special place for most that had been there. To top it all off, I heard that Modest Mouse wasn't the most amazing live act either, which gave me even more anxious wonder as to the outcome of the concert.

We got to the Paolo Soleri, and I gotta say, I was impressed, the ampitheater was really gorgeous, fitting our longstanding southwestern-adobe motif seen almost everywhere in New Mexico. There was also lots of space for listeners, rows of steps leading from the stage flowed upwards at a nice steep angle, with nice sets of improvised bleachers at the top to allow for even more listening room, which was quite welcomed by the end of the night.

The first band was as forgettable as this article, I think I vaugely gathered from other disinterested listeners that the name of the band was ("erm, I think...")Radar Brothers ("or something, sorry man, I dunno.") and boy, I gotta say, out of all my experience with live music, they were probably the most generic band I've heard yet. Middle-aged-family-friendly-indie rock'n'roll is the easiest way I can paint my view of this band, I told others later that they served more as music for everyone to get to their spot for Modest Mouse, more than anything. We all listened (barely) and clapped (barely) and I'm postive that the band heard the most praise when the lead singer asked; "Are you guys ready for Modest Mouse?"

And that we definitely were. This was definitely the biggest mesh of different groups of people I've ever seen before to support a band, Super old, super young, super hipster, and super normal, everyone was there, which was nice in some ways, because normal people know how to enjoy a band way more than indie hipsters that are too cool for cheering and dancing. I really can't remember what songs exactly they played, but I remember that Modest Mouse focused on the whole of their discography, excluding most of their oldest of old stuff. I was actually impressed, I was sure Isaac and company would stick to playing The Moon & Antarctica material mixed with some from the new EP: No One's First, And You're Next, but there was a minor focus on Good News.... and a tinsy bit from We Were Dead...Which was welcome in my book. Some of my favorite highlights from the set were "Fly Trapped in A Jar" which was played with the great introduction found on the album, and the new single "The Whale Song", which was skillfully played in it's full, mostly-vocal-less and jammy good-ness. "The Devils Workday" was another highlight, as it had a great section performed by a trio of horn players, and Isaac on the banjo.

As far as skill goes, Modest Mouse wasn't the most amazing performance I've ever seen/heard, but they were far away from bad. They played their songs skillfully and true to the studio, and that's where my only minor problem was, the live songs were so close to the album that I couldn't help but be unsatisfied with the amount of diss-similarities between live and studio, I wanted a bit of difference, maybe Isaac to change some of his vocals, or possibly be a bit more crazy live, and he simply wasn't, which isn't disappointing, just not amazingly entrancing. But overall they sounded great.

At the end of a good hour and half of a great set, Modest Mouse left for a break, and left us for a good ten minutes of chanting encore before coming out in skin tight suits and a man in a bunny outfit in toe. For their final songs I remember two of the three, one being the newish single "Satellite Skin" and their absolute finale being "Spitting Venom" which felt amazingly welcome, as it was a beast of a song, and had awesome horn parts, all played with fantastic conviction on all fronts. The encore was the best part of the show, as it should always be, and as "Spitting Venom" climaxed, it began to lightly rain, which was fitting, poetic, and lovely for how hot it was smashed shoulder to shoulder with every other fan.

We all stepped out of the venue with the smell of rain in the air, and a slight breeze flowing over the Santa Fe landscape, as I can't speak for everyone, I can definitely say I was filled with mild euphoria, as I know that I enjoyed a great band that should continue to impress with new and exciting music with a diverse fan-base that will always love them. So, if you actually read this half-remembered-hodge-podge of thought, I will thank you, and say that I can now tell you the most important part of this article, a recollection of the set-list (AS I REMEMBER IT):
  • The World At Large
  • Float On
  • Bukowski
  • The Devils Workday
  • The View
  • Satan in A Coffin
  • 3rd Planet
  • Tiny Cities Made of Ashes
  • The Whale Song
  • Doin The Cockroach
  • Missed The Boat
  • Fly Trapped In a Jar
  • Satellite Skin
  • Spitting Venom
Good shit, sorry for any spelling or sentence errors, and lemme know if I fucked up the setlist at all. And now, my only photo I took at the thing, check it!

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