Modest Mouse, Polvo
Kyle Ellison 14/12/2009
Opening with King Rat, recently re-released with its music video directed by the late Heath Ledger, it's difficult to deny the band's stage presence. While eyes automatically gravitate towards Issac Brock, the stage is decorated with a range of instruments, and the brass is instantly notable on this first track. Moreover, having two drummers on stage is always great to watch, and the pair interact nicely throughout the entire performance. Moving swiftly into their 2007 hit, Dashboard, Modest Mouse come across as every bit the seasoned live band that they are, and although Brock later explains he recently lost his voice, it would be difficult to notice had he not mentioned it.
As the setlist grows on, however, it becomes increasingly apparent it will be comprised entirely of songs from this decade. While there is a fair share of material from 2000's The Moon & Antartica to please older fans, the absence of any material from The Lonesome Crowded West is sorely missed by this reviewer, as far and away my favourite Modest Mouse album. Still, I hate moaning about setlists and it makes sense for the band to focus on newer material, even if by the complete lack of older songs and easily their biggest hit, Float On, they're drawing attention to it themselves.
Despite issues with the setlist, I think to go see a Modest Mouse show in 2009 is to accept the band has changed over time. Once you get your head around this fact, the performance actually becomes very easy to enjoy. Although fairly quiet throughout a two hour set, Brock, the band's sole mouthpiece, comes across well. Furthermore, their performance injects new life into some of the bands more recent output. In fact, tonight serves as a
reminder to those that have written off Modest Mouse, that there are still some really great songs to be found on their recent albums. Parting The Sensory and Fire It Up are particular highlights, urging me to revisit 2007's We Were Dead Before The Ship Even Sank.
Closing the set just as they had begun, with a recent single, The Whale Song is a fitting close to an enjoyable set. If you can leave your expectations at the door and enjoy Modest Mouse for what they are now, then their live show is very enjoyable although not explosive.