Friday, March 13, 2009

Robertus Reviews: Modest Mouse @ Ram's Head Live (3/12/09)

So, had the telephone in my hand and ready to call out this morning, having gotten three hours of sleep or so before the clock alarm that I could hardly hear over the ringing, but then that voice in the back of my head started fucking with me, so here I am, useless in my office instead of asleep at home. The concert was the best I’ve been to in a long time. Took them a while to get onstage after Mimicking Birds bailed (fantastic background music, good for getting high in the living room, less so in a crowded club), but once they had the stage they were disinclined to give it back. I counted seventeen songs between Spitting Venom and Parting of the Sensory (which I keep calling Carbon), and another three or four in the encore. They mostly played it straight, though I’m not familiar enough with some of their back catalog to say for sure (Jill later confessed that she didn’t have one of their earlier “important” albums, air quotes hers, so they could’ve played those in a different key on the wrong instruments and sung backwards, for all I know).

We were standing before one of the back-of-the-room speakers, Jill, her friend and I. The crowd was inexplicably tall, but I myself am explicably tall, and so saw most of Brock’s antics, which consisted mostly of scalding one fan who kept requesting Third Planet (he is a saint compared to Ryan Adams, whose set at Constitution Hall was exclusively him yelling at fans for making requests). There was no self-mutilation or other debauchery, aside from the keyboardist’s cigarette. Took about twelve bars before someone fired up a joint in the pit, another twelve bars before security tossed them out. It was a sea of elbows and shoulders, and Karma Ward (erstwhile Brewer’s Art bartender with whom I had a writing class entirely too long ago) generally acting the fool. This is not an uncommon occurrence. She has a touch of the crazy, that one.

The full set list is here.