• 149 WESTCHESTER AVENUE, PORT CHESTER, NY 10573-4549 · (914) 937-4126

  • October 17th, 2017

    reCAP :: Modest Mouse w/ Mimicking Birds :: 2017.10.13 & 10.14

    Words by Jon Chattman & John William Mabery
    Photos by Marc Millman & Andrew Scott Blackstein

    Friday, 2017.10.13

    Modest Mouse opened the first of two sold-out shows at The Cap on Oct. 13 with an interesting choice: their dreamy ballad “Strangers to Ourselves,” the self-titled track off their last album. Following a pitch perfect rendition of that slow-moving track, they proverbially woke us right up with a raucous version of “What People Are Made Of” off their breakthrough 2000 album The Moon & Antarctica. The night never let up after that, even during some the lesser octane stuff. In an intense 20-song-plus show that spanned their entire career, Modest Mouse played a bunch of stuff of their last record, a lot of deep cuts, and a bunch of oddities which played just as well.

    All the while, frontman Isaak Brock, the pulsating beat of the band, led his tight, talented band and played ferociously – as if someone spiked his Red Bull with more Red Bull. And the crowd ate it up – every bit of it.

    Naturally highlights came from more familiar songs , which I should mention with this setlist, were few and far between. “Tiny Cities Made of Ashes,” an indie rock classic and personal favorite, never sounded better. Loud and in your face, this epic song off The Moon & Antarctica was a huge standout in a night of standouts. Their big 2015 hit “Lampshade on Fire,” off of 2015’s Strangers to Ourselves, was a stomper that had the crowd spewing out every line. “Dashboard,” off of 2007’s We Were Dead Before the Ship Even Sank, had everyone doing the same and, dare I say it, delightfully dancing as well.

    Still, having said that, it was the less familiar tracks that seemed to resonate most with a lot of faces in the crowd. The indie rock icons originally from Washington dug deep into their catalog, and The Cap was filled with diehards who didn’t just come to see “Float On,” which was sadly not played. “Night on the Sun” off the 1999 EP of the same name was a pretty nice addition to the setlist. Ditto for “Grey Ice Water” off their debut and “Dramamine” off This Is a Long Drive for Someone with Nothing to Think About – the latter of which, played early in the set.

    And, again, while they didn’t play breakthrough smash “Float On,” they did play a bunch of songs off the timeless 2004 Good News for People Who Love Bad News including the hit “Ocean Breathes Salty” and “The Good Times are Killing Me.” The latter ironically ended the show given the lyrics, and yes, I may be misusing the word “ironic” like Alanis did back in the day.

    Anyway, arguably the best song of the night was their rendition of “Satin in a Coffin.” The energy was at a fever pitch, the musicians were all in their element, and the entire audience was shouting along with the band during the entire song: “Are you dead or are you sleepin’?”

    Well, Modest Mouse were very much alive on Friday evening. Fired up, and floating on.

    Saturday, 2017.10.14

    I never got to meet my brother-in-law Jake – he passed away before I had the chance to meet him. One thing I’ve come to learn about him was that he had great taste in music.The last band he ever saw in concert was Modest Mouse, who played the second of two shows at the Cap this past Saturday night. Joined by my fiancé and Jake’s best friend, the band gave us the kind of performance that was as sonically satisfying as it was spiritually healing.

    Featuring a setlist that spanned their entire discography (“Talking Shit About A Pretty Sunset” from This Is A Long Drive… to “The Ground Walks, with Time In A Box” from Strangers to Ourselves), Isaac Brock and company are a band of whose nightly repertoire always comes with a balance of hits and deep cuts. Brock is a performer of legend – his movements spastic, his lyrics shouted manically – who transitioned from one song to the next with oddball references to how “none of you were loved by your grandparents, except for me” (and that was one of the ones we could understand). The crowd was rabid for the entirety of the two-hour set, belting out all the lyrics to crowd pleasers like “Float On” and obscurities like “Never Ending Math Equation.”

    Perhaps it is all the humanity that Brock packs into his music that gets people to scream his lyrics every night. It’s the same reason that my late-brother-in-law connected with them. During the first of two encores, the band played “Baby Blue Sedan.” My fiancé, friend, and I sat there singing along: “And I miss you when you’re around,” which two-years later, still feels relevant and potent to us. Modest Mouse is brilliant at creating such profound-yet-simplistic statements like that – ones that find people no matter where they’re at in their lives.