Last Night: Modest Mouse at Revolution Live

Modest Mouse
Sunday, March 8th 2009
Revolution Live, Fort Lauderdale

Better than: Their performance at this year's Langerado.  Or anyone else's for that matter.

Modest Mouse has got to be the loudest band ever to shun the use of distortion.  There's no humming fuzz, in fact, I don't even think they use overdrive, other than the natural OD coming from amped-up speakers.  No, just jangly guitars shimmering like a coke bottle on the beach, a small parade of unexpected instruments like the accordion, two drummers pounding away simultaneously, and of course, Isaac Brock's intense vocals, which are at times reminiscent of a melodically inclined schizophrenic arguing with his own shoulder.

Last night, the Seattle-based band took the stage at Revolution Live. I realize the place is at least two notches on the evolutionary chain above the Edge, which sat on the spot for a good chunk of the 90's, staining the lower third of kids' jeans with mud made of beer and shoe gunk, and just generally erasing memory.  But it hasn't exactly developed opposable thumbs.  Then again, do you want your rock shows in a ballroom, sans puddles of beer and cigarette smoke that stings your eyes.  I sure as hell don't.

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After a very mellow start by an opening act, which I liked, though they sound like My Morning Jacket on Xanax, Modest Mouse hit the stage and proceeded to tear the roof off Revolution Live in their signature manic fashion.  Lead singer/guitarist Isaac Brock headed on with banjo in hand, accompanied by his bandmates some of  whom also sported interesting instruments.  I'm not exactly sure whether it was Tom Peloso or Eric Judy, but one of them was playing the biggest upright bass I've ever seen and Johnny Marr Jim Fairchild sat at a keyboard that looked more like an open suitcase.  And thus, to the delight of the sweaty, drunken mob in attendance, the show kicked off with "Satin In A Coffin" from their 2004 release, Good News For People Who Love Bad News.

From there the entire band walked off stage for five minutes while the all the lights at the front of the house went up, but apparently whatever needed fixing was resolved, because they walked back on, solo cups and cigarettes in hand, and steamrolled right into "3rd Planet" off The Moon and Antarctica.  Needless to say, the rest of the show featured a mixed bag of songs from the band's four five albums, including "Bukowski" and, of course, the fan favorite "Float On".  I've always enjoyed Modest Mouse's feverish style and I've got to say, they didn't disappoint live.

Critic's Notebook

Personal Bias: I've always dug the Mouse.

Random Detail: Modest Mouse also plays  Lake Buena Vista tonight, and it's one of the few shows on their remaining tour schedule that isn't sold out.  So if you missed last night and you're up for the drive, hop on it, froggy.

By the Way: Was that neon pink shit I stepped in vomit or some funky libation?  Either way, it's not coming off my shoe.

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