Modest Mouse @ Fox Theatre, Oakland- February 22, 2009

Modest Mouse

with Japanese Motors
Mimicking Birds
Sunday, February 22, 2009

The Fox Theater, Oakland, CA

foxChandra fiercely guarding our spotlstagemmgood

Modest Mouse is one of those bands that crept up on me. I didn’t initially think much of them for some reason, but when I was listening to Good News for People Who Love Bad News, I found myself waking up many mornings with Float On playing on a loop in my head. Soon the rest of the songs on the album had joined in, and for a couple of months it was the soundtrack of my life- I have to say it was pretty fucking great. I figure any band that can weasel its way into my consciousness so persistently and pleasantly is doing something very right.

So the good news for me was that, after missing them this summer at the Greek Theater (they were playing with R.E.M. who I kinda don’t care about), I saw that they were playing at the Fox Theater. The newly renovated Fox just reopened after 40 years of being closed, surviving more than one near razing. The theater looked amazing, and it was pretty well staffed and looked like it had its shit together. But before I could really enjoy the good news, though, came the bad news…the opening bands.
Mimicking BirdsJapanese Motors
Unfortunately, both Mimicking Birds and Japanese Motors were pretty bad. I really didn’t want them to be, and I hate saying that about people who have the balls to get up in front of a crowd and do their best. But bad they were. Mimicking Birds were just too quiet for that venue, and while their music had potential, they just sounded weak, and when they were done, they pretty much skulked off stage. The guitars and drums were just washed out, and Nate Lacy’s voice alternated between too loud and too quiet. To be fair, it looked like they were having sound equipment issues, but even for that, the music was just underwhelming. I’ve checked them out on MySpace, and they actually sound a lot stronger, so I’m willing to chalk it up to just the wrong venue for them.

Japanese Motors, however, were just plain underwhelming. They had tremendous energy, and looked like they had their shit together- but the music just wasn’t moving. It kinda felt like that same surf-punk cum sixties pop sound you’ve heard a thousand times before. Songs that felt like they should have had the place stomping, just didn’t. It wasn’t just me either, as no one in the full house was moving all that much.
Isaac BrockIsaac Brockmm21
Then Modest Mouse crashed on stage, and all the bad news seemed to wash away. Isaac Brock took charge right away and the energy just got everyone in the place jumping. The set list felt like it covered a pretty good range of their work, and it included a Tom Waits cover (which I have to admit I somehow totally forgot about). Brock has an intensity on stage that I don’t see a lot. His whole body seems to double in size at times, violently shaking and vibrating while he projects into the mic. There was one point when he seemed like a man possessed and he started singing into the pickup on his guitar, and the effect was pretty cool. The crowd was totally carried away by his energy, and were jumping the whole time. All in all, a very fun show.

Modest Mouse Setlist (thanks to

1. 3rd Planet Play
2. Black Cadillacs
3. Doin’ The Cockroach
4. Dashboard
5. Wild Packs Of Family Dogs
6. King Rat
7. The View
8. Rains On Me [Tom Waits]
9. Baby Blue Sedan
10. Satellite Skin
11. Tiny Cities Made Of Ashes
12. Spitting Venom
13. Paper Thin Walls
14. The Good Times Are Killing Me
15. Education
16. Parting Of The Sensory
17. Interstate 8
18. All Night Diner
19. Alone Down There

Modest Mouse