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Mosh Pit Review: A 'Modest' Proposal

28 August 2015   David Molnar
Touring in support of their latest album “Strangers to Ourselves”, Modest Mouse played their only Arizona concert on August 19...

...at the Orpheum Theater in Flagstaff to a sold out crowd. They absolutely killed it! Lead singer Isaac Brock and band produced a professional (yes I said professional and in the best sense of that word), energetic, and diverse set of twenty songs.


(I know, I know, some of you - most of you? - reading this have no idea who Modest Mouse is, or you may vaguely recall their big hit “Float On” (which they did not play last night). I too was once in your shoes a mere three months ago, but something happened that changed the course of my musical life…I listened to “Strangers to Ourselves” and I loved it. I proceeded to go backward in time and listen to all their albums and EPs. And when I say listen, I mean listen, obsessively. The EPs are stupendous…to my mind, the best song from the Flagstaff show was, “Night on the Sun” from “Everywhere and His Nasty Parlor Tricks”).

While drinking a beverage before the show, I struck up a conversation with a man who had never heard Modest Mouse. He asked me, “What kind of music is it?”

I didn’t know how to answer him. Rock and Roll? Pop music? “Indie Rock”? Like the twenty-year-old waitress in the Flagstaff diner where I had a black coffee at 7 PM before the show called it, Experimental? Psychedelic? Banjo? I finally said, “It is good music. Go listen to it”. (And that is my advice to you, gentle reader, go listen!)

Mimicking Birds from Portland, Oregon opened the show a little after 8 PM with an atmospheric, mellow and quasi-psychedelic set. I would definitely recommend giving them a serious listen, also. Their new album is called EONS. Modest Mouse hit the stage around 9:15 PM with Sugar Boats: an enthusiastic, upbeat song with a carnival keyboard intro that has to be heard to be believed.

Six of the twenty songs were from “Strangers to Ourselves”.

To my ear, ALL the songs were great but some standouts were:

“Bukowski” --Isaac Brock played banjo for this beautifully depressing song.

“Tiny City Made of Ashes” with the hilarious lyric, “So we’re drinkin’ drinkin’drinkin’ drinkin’ coca-coca-cola”. (Did I mention Isaac Brock has a good sense of humor? He wore a Hawaiian shirt with flamingos on it for the show).

The concert closed with “The Good Times are Killing Me” from the album “Good News for People Who Love Bad News”. What do you think of those two titles? I have purposely avoided talking about lyrics because in the final analysis lyrics (like music) don’t need interpretations or descriptions or opinions; they only need to be heard. That is my point: the best way to learn about Modest Mouse is to listen to their music (and lyrics). So go, close your browser and head over to Spotify or Amazon Prime or iTunes or Google Play and listen to some Modest Mouse. I recommend starting with these five songs to get you going: “Dramamine”; ‘Lounge (Closing time”; “Third Planet”; ”Spitting Venom” and “The Best Room”.

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