'Mouse' Still On Top

The Set List

by Brian Washburn

Bands throughout the indie genre who have had mild-to-much success on the national scale have often been referred to as “sell outs.” This term has been applied to one band in particular. However, last week, in front of a sold-out crowd in Kansas City, Washington indie rock kings Modest Mouse put all notions of selling out, giving up or even slowing down to rest. 

Although the band has found extreme success with their last two albums, 2004’s “Good News for People Who Love Bad News” and 2007’s “We Were Dead Before the Ship Even Sank,” much of the set list was composed of older tunes, the ones that propelled Modest Mouse to the top of the indie underground scene in the late ‘90s and early 2000s. 

While the band did play six songs from “Good News,” they only played two from their most recent release. Most of the fans who packed the Uptown Theater from wall to wall did not seem to care at all, as the loudest praise and applause came for older songs, such as “3rd Planet,” “Breakthrough” and “Tiny Cities Made of Ashes.” 

But the set list did not come together without some complaining and a ridiculous shout out from one fan in particular who asked the band to play old stuff. In fact, Modest Mouse lead singer Issac Brock even called out the fan, saying the song they just played was probably older than the fan. 

But Brock kept it all intact with the fan, and even with the show. Rumors of his past drunken stage antics that distract from the show were not to be seen last week. In fact, the unique singer/guitarist was dead-on the entire show. 

Though the rest of the band was spot-on with every musical note, it still would have been nice to witness the guitar playing of Johnny Marr (formerly of The Smiths), who decided not to hit the road with Mouse this tour and, instead, to tour Europe with another act. 

Multi-instrumentalist Tom Peloso did a fascinating job switching between cello, piano and about every other instrument he seemed to get his hands on. 

But it was definitely the outstanding roles played by percussionist Joe Plummer and drummer Jeremiah Green that were astonishing. Both play drum sets, but play vastly different parts throughout every song. It is phenomenal how both players never got offbeat once and how it mixes in so flawlessly with the rest of the music. 

Modest Mouse put on one of the best indie rock shows anybody throughout the nation could have asked for last week. It was breathtaking, dead-on and remarkable considering how diverse and bizarre some of the band’s recordings turn out to be … which is a good thing. 

It would have been nice, though, to hear a few more songs from their best album “The Moon and Antarctica” and a few of their more popular songs like “Ocean Breathes Salty” and “Missed The Boat.” Yes, I am a sucker for both of their radio indie songs. But I can’t complain. I had one of the godfathers of indie bands in the world rock out right in front of my eyes for more than an hour. Let’s just say the performance left me with a long drive home with a lot to think about. 

Final Thought: Modest Mouse Set List: “Bury Me With It,” “Never Ending Math Equation,” “The View,” “Dramamine,” “Wild Packs of Family Dogs,” “Breakthrough,” “Guilty Cocker Spaniel,” “Tiny Cities Made of Ashes,” “Custom Concern,” “Float On,” “Bukowski,” “Interstate 8,” “All Night Diner,” “Parting of the Sensory.” Encore: “3rd Planet,” “Satellite Skin,” “Dashboard,” “Baby Blue Sedan,” “Satin in a Coffin,” and “Black Cadillacs.”

Categories: LIVE! In NWA