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Modest Mouse SOLD-OUT and Mellowed-Out

by Nate Eckstrom

Modest Mouse was the hot ticket on the Lower East Side this weekend. Tickets were being scalped on Craigslist for $100 or more, which is amazing considering this was the fourth of the bands five NYC area shows. One at the Nokia, two at Webster Hall and two at Bowery Ballroom. All that, and there were still tough-guys with hoodies and one finger held plaintively in the air outside the Bowery Ballroom on Friday night. At what point did Modest Mouse amass this huge fan base?

Over the last 13 years I guess. They have changed very little, but with a little help from the radio and TV advertisements, the band has worked their yelping, histrionic, violent music into fan base gold. They have recently added a second guitarist, Johnny Marr (from the Smiths), which is what bands tend to do when they reach a certain humungous level of success. (Do you remember when Pat Smear joined Nirvana on the In Utero tour?) Lead singer, Isaac Brock stills yelps – at least when he plays the old songs. The new ones had a more mellow feel, though. Brock was actually singing at some points.

This was good and bad. The new material stumbled off the blocks, with a lame excuse for a song called “Fire It Up” (I think so, because he said it about a million times) making me wonder if this ticket was worth all the trouble. Mid-set however they showed some of the song-writing and lyrical craft that has held these fans attention for 13 years. They’ve continued the eclectic direction they started a couple albums ago, and seem to be prepared to push it further. I don’t know if I’ll buy the new album, but I won’t object if someone else puts it on.

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