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Thursday, December 16, 2004


Mouser-Size Me (Night #2)

Night # 1 can be found here.

My mother, of all people, nicely summed up the club show experience. After years of periodic concerts in arenas and theaters, my parents attended the John Fogerty show at the Roseland earlier this month. Surrounded by drunken 50-somethings all reliving the '60s, she spent most of the evening clinging to a wall in the balcony. A few days later, she recounted the experience. Here's a rough recreation:

"We fought to keep our spots. I was afraid to go to the bar or the bathroom for over two hours, fearing your dad would get into a fist fight over it. Everyone was plastered and acting like rednecks, endlessly hooting and yelling "YEEEE HA!" The opening act was so tired of being heckled she stormed off stage. Finally, a couple stood up and we asked if we could take their seats. We sat down and then the people beside us started shouting, claiming they were theirs. Behind us, someone else was arguing because some guy's drunk mistress was taking up multiple seats. We've been wanting to see Fogerty for years but he was taking forever to get on stage and these assholes were driving us crazy. $60 bucks a piece for this? The three security guards around didn't care what was going on. We were about to walk out but Fogerty finally came out of stage. He played 'Bad Moon Rising,' 'Proud Mary' and all of Creedence Clearwater's hits. Suddenly, all the hours of misery leading up to this were worth it."

Tuesday night's Modest Mouse show had the same sort of crowd, albeit a generation younger. Get a thousand people of any age group together, pump them full of alcohol and live music and they'll behave like they're the only ones in the room. Part of the problem is that the average club show is overcrowded, making dancing, let alone slipping through the masses to hit the bar or the bathroom, practically impossible. If you fight your way to the front, you can look forward to holding your bowels for hours and getting elbowed a million times. Stand in the back and you'll contend with people that could care less about the band and are more interested in shouting over the music.

All right, enough with the editorial. Tuesday's show was pretty much like Monday's. Modest Mouse played roughly the same set and barreled through it with little attention given to the audience. Banter has never been the band's strong suit. "Float On" sounded great and I tried to capture it on my cell phone but it came out as a garbled blob when I played it back. The initial set closed with "Jesus Christ Was an Only Child." With several hundred fans bouncing on the Ballroom's floating dance floor, it shook like a faultline.

As you can tell, I'm only on night two and I've already run out of things to talk about. What else? Hmmm...well, the stage lights were really neat. Hmm...I know, I'll just cut, paste and fill in the blanks from random a Pixies concert review. That should do the trick.

The meat of the 28-song set comes in a flash. "3rd Planet," "Control Freak" and "Bury Me," fall in a rapid succession, barely leaving the audience time to take them in. The band's sound is impeccable, as if they've spent the last decade touring together in a van and not, as is the case, staying home getting older and fatter.

Modest Mouse's ability to mix and match the setlist and their willingness to dig deep into their catalog speaks volumes to their talent as musicians. Of course it also speaks to the rabid appetite of the long suffering fans who have demanded this reunion.

Anyway, here's a blurred picture of Brock.

Click on the mysterious exit sign dragon below to watch a Quicktime clip. Why, with this you could "do the cockroach" right from your very own home! Thanks to the limitations of my digital camera and the Crystal Ballroom's "floating" dance floor, it could be the worst concert footage ever captured on a media card. Hooray!


Encore songs: "Blame It On the Teetons" and "Trailer Trash"
Amount of beer spilled on my hoodie: 0!
Amount of women in the crowd that looked like the computer geek from that old Undergrads cartoon: 1.
Amoung of audience members that jumped in front of camera before screaming "HA!" and ducking back into the crowd: 2
Total number of spotted boyfriends who looked a girlfiend: 154
Total number of trucker hats in the ballroom: Infinity + infinity.

Night # 3? Tomorrow! Chevy Chase hate mail? Lots of Chevy Chase hate mail? Also tomorrow!

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