Modest Mouse @ Margaret Court Arena, 23 March 2016

I loved this Modest Mouse gig because it was brimming with questions:

  • “What was Isaac mumbling?”
  • “When did Tom grow that stellar beard?”
  • “Is this song really ‘This Devil’s Workday’?”
  • “Does their roadie double as a bonus horn player?”
  • “Are they going to play ‘Float On’? Because I hear they didn’t play that in Sydney, and it’s a damn good song, and if they don’t bloody well pl… Oh wait, here it is.”

The last time I saw Modest Mouse was nine years ago at the now deceased Palace nightclub in St Kilda. That gig stands as one of my all time favourites, with premieres of We Were Dead material weighing down the setlist, a full scale mosh pit, and one funny tantrum from Brock when asked to play something from before 2003.

Last night in Melbourne was an entirely different affair. This was a big room (a remodelled arena event), the crowd didn’t mosh but appreciated things more subduedly, and the set delivered a hefty swag of the older Modest Mouse tracks.

Brock was talkative and funny, albeit mostly incoherent, and demonstrated how he’s one of the most expressive singers around with faces often screamy and scary and plenty of flailing guita. And the band were tight, frequently swapping out instruments for a wildly diverse set.

Modest Mouse are a rare breed and this was one damn cool performance.

Set list

  1. Ocean Breathes Salty
  2. Be Brave
  3. Tiny Cities Made of Ashes
  4. Lampshades on Fire
  5. Fire It Up
  6. Dark Center of the Universe
  7. King Rat
  8. This Devil’s Workday
  9. Baby Blue Sedan
  10. The Best Room
  11. Dashboard
  12. Gravity Rides Everything
  13. Cowboy Dan
  14. Wicked Campaign
  15. Black Cadillacs
  16. Shit in Your Cut
  17. Float On
  18. Paper Thin Walls
  19. The Ground Walks, With Time in a Box
  20. The Good Times Are Killing Me
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