Modest Mouse well worth the wait for Boston faithful

A review of Modest Mouse at the House of Blues on July 25, 2010

, Managing Editor

After nearly an hour wait following opener Morning Teleportation’s set, Modest Mouse finally took the stage to a packed house of adoring fans at the House of Blues Sunday night. However, most fans were more fervent than frustrated and if there was any annoyance amongst the others during the wait, all was surely forgiven once the band appeared.

Modest Mouse are members of the long list of musical talent emerging from the Seattle area but they also have a strong connection right here in Boston. In a city whose musical landscape vastly consists of indie rock, there’s no question that Modest Mouse has had a profound influence on many local bands. In fact, Modest Mouse has received comparisons to Boston’s own Pixies for years. With Frank Black and co. only playing sporadically over the past decade, Modest Mouse has served as the alt-rock bridge between the Pixies and the current Boston rock scene. They showed just how sturdy that bridge is with a pair of sold-out shows at the House of Blues on Sunday and Monday.

Since their last studio album in 2007, We Were Dead Before The Ship Even Sank, the band has released an EP and gone through a lineup change (Johnny Marr out, Jim Fairchild in). They’re also working on their upcoming album but there were no sneak peaks on Sunday. In fact, they only played one song off their latest EP No One’s First And You’re Next. “Autumn Beds” appeared early in the set as frontman Isaac Brock grabbed his banjo for the first time.

The set list in Boston was perhaps the best of the tour so far, with a great mix of hits (“Float On”, “Gravity Rides Everything”, etc.) and fan favorites (“Dramamine”, “Shit Luck”, etc.). Modest Mouse may be an “indie” band but they have a wide-ranging fanbase, the reason for their appeal most likely being their two sides, eccentric rocking and loveable ballads. “Tiny Cities Made of Ashes” was a great example of the former, as the pit hopped and Brock was actually drowned out during the “Does anybody know a way?” chorus as fans screamed with him. While, “Blame It On the Tetons” was perhaps the best example of the latter thanks to Brock’s soft vocals over Tom Peloso’s fiddle playing.

The hour wait seemed warranted as the show went on and one realized that the band doesn’t take any breaks. The only real stoppage came before “Black Cadillacs” towards the end of the set, as Brock pondered what the rules were for fans who were pulled down from crowd surfing by security and sent away as he humorously pondered, “What are the rules? Do they just go to the back of the room?… It’s not like the last time you see them, right?” Brock could see for himself if he kept his eye on the pit during the encore (which came after another 10 minute wait, although nobody left) as fans crowd surfed through “Trucker’s Atlas” and show-closer “Spitting Venom”, the latter being extra wild as the pit soaked in the ferocious instrumental outro as Peloso’s bugle blared and Brock’s guitar raged.

With a new album in the works, another Modest Mouse tour sooner than later would seems likely, but no matter how long it takes them to come around again, if there’s one thing their fans proved on Sunday, they’ll be right there patiently waiting.

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