I Saw [Modest Mouse] Live

Date: October 3rd, 2017
Location: Louisville Palace

A Modest Mouse show is like a box of chocolates. You get the idea. In the three times I’ve seen the band in the last few years, I’ve been treated to three distinguishable, unique experiences of varying degrees of quality. Not just because to band, remarkably, plays a completely different set every date, but because you never exactly know how much of a stupor Isaac Brock will be in. When I last saw them, at Iroquois Amphitheater in 2016, Brock had been a mess, forgetting lyrics and tripping over songs. Along with an abundance of tech and sound problems, I left with an unshakeable disappointment.

This time around, Brock seemed to have his wits about him, thankfully (It’s still impossible to make out any of his small talk, however), and the band was on point as well with a clear and collected sound (though the acoustics in the Palace were a bit too loud to the point of distortion). This is easily the strongest setlist I’ve ever seen them perform:

Tiny Cities Made Of Ashes
3rd Planet
The Tortoise and the Tourist
Dark Center of the Universe
Missed The Boat
Lampshades On Fire
Blame It on the Tetons
Autumn Beds
King Rat
Night on the Sun
Dance Hall
Pups to Dust
Dashboard
Trailer Trash
Encore:
Fly Trapped in a Jar
Sugar Boats
This Devil’s Workday
Never Ending Math Equation
Fire It Up

Surprisingly, they did not play “Float On,” but that doesn’t bother me much. Radiohead doesn’t play “Creep” every show. But I am disappointed I have yet to hear my two personal favorite songs by the band (“Gravity Rides Everything” and “Talking Shit About a Pretty Sunset”), but, of course, with an ever-changing set there is no way to play everything and please everyone. We did, however, get quite a bit from The Moon and Antarctica, their best record in my opinion. This set was loaded with songs that are a joy to sing along to (“Missed the Boat,” Dance Hall,” “Fire it Up”), which overall made for a very enjoyable and dancey show, despite us being about five rows from the very back. Strangely, I’m not sure if this was on the part of the band or the house, but the lights stayed off for about four minutes after the encore ended, leading everyone to believe another encore was on the way, and from there to a torrent of groans when the lights did, in fact, come on. It was bizarre, and I would have loved to see more, but the show already stood strong on its own.

Altogether, after a bummer of a show last year, I’m glad Modest Mouse was able to rebound and prove they can still pull it off live. I’ll certainly be catching them again next time they swing by.

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