In the sweaty pit that was the Crystal Ballroom’s main floor last Friday, a small-framed teenage girl was heard uttering, “OMG [oh my god], if they play [inaudible Modest Mouse song title] I will die. I WILL DIE!!”
Judging from her very live state at the end of the night, nervously checking her cell phone and sending text messages to her friend at home, I would assume that Modest Mouse did not play her favorite song.
However, the balding forty-something man gently swaying to the soothing sounds of rabid guitar feedback and shredding metallic strings seemed to be as thoroughly satisfied, as his moustache appropriately balanced his balding visiage.
This is the realm of Modest Mouse, my friends. A multigenerational sweat-fest in which everybody gets drenched.
Oddly enough, neither the old nor the young seemed to care about Modest Mouse’s newest songs, barring the jaunty Talking Heads funk of their new single “Float On.”
“I hope they play their old stuff, instead of their new, poppy songs,” bemoaned the teenage cellphoner. Indeed, when the Mouse kicked out tracks like “Interstate 8” from their 2000 compilation of loose ends Building Something Out of Nothing.
But when the band plodded through the Tom Waitsian tracks buried in the middle of their new album Good News For People Who Love Bad News, the throngs of sweaty Mouse fans piled up at a blocked-off entrance to Lola’s Room (the bar located beneath the ballroom’s floor) for a quick smoke break. By the time the encore was being played, the Lola’s entrance was shut off and security crew members were heard muttering, “stairs are closed, man,” in unison for the remainder of the show.
But regardless the lukewarm reception to the “good news,” the Mouse fans generally accepted the often-lively performances of older material with swaying, cheering and the occasional raised beer.
And even if the crowd didn’t seem to care much about the new songs that the Mouse were playing, there seemed to be a sense of glee on the face of singer Isaac Brock and company.
The band has survived expectations of rock saviordom, and rock martyrdom. Rumors, drugs, indiscretions and a label that hates them.
Sure, it’s not like seeing your second drummer burst into flames on stage, but it seems as though the trials that the band has survived has imbued them with a spark of optimism. An optimism so apparent that it could be seen by those watching the fuzzy closed circuit television feed of the show in Lola’s Room during a smoke break.