Tuesday, November 14, 2006

In the Presence of Humble Rodent

Saw Modest Mouse last night at the Nokia Theatre. Very nice venue, albeit a bit on the big side. Wide concourses, clean restrooms, multiple bars that remind you of the Heineken Experience. All that, of course, means that I'm not likely to go back. What self-respecting indie rock fan could put up with such conditions?

Seriously, though ... a place like that attracts a certain kind of band and a certain kind of crowd. Given its size, only bands that have attained at least a modest level of commercial success (e.g., Modest Mouse) will be booked there. And what sort of crowd does commercial success generally entail?

Kiddies, kiddies as far as the eyes can see-ies, I tell you! (This tends to happen when your music gets featured on The O.C.)

Quite annoying. I didn't much like being around 16-year-olds when I was 16, and I like it even less now. They smoked. They drank. They got all giddy at each utterance of "fuck," "bullshit," "asshole" and the like but bored with each stretch of contemplative melody. Pogo bouncing, yes; gentle swaying, no. Subtlety never escapes them.

Funny how my level of annoyance varied in inverse proportion to their level of enjoyment. Makes me wonder what common thread, if any, ties our interest in Modest Mouse. But enough about the kiddies. Let's talk about the music.

An underwhelming show, really. Isaac and the boys seemed rather uninspired, and that was evident from the opening track -- "Ocean Breathes Salty." If I had a playlist called "I Hate the World," that song would be on it. But the rendition of the song last night would've fit more comfortably on the "Let's All Get Along" playlist. That set the mood for the rest of the show.

I wonder if the composition of the audience and the expanse of the space had anything to do with the band's apparent lack of zeal? My guess is yes. I'm sure the shows will be far more stimulating in the intimate environs of Bowery Ballroom on Friday and Saturday. Perhaps I would've enjoyed things better had they played "Gravity Rides Everything" and "Blame It on the Tetons."

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