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- Modest Mouse »
Jesus, can you imagine how many questions about Johnny Marr Modest Mouse singer Isaac Brock must have answered by now? That dude must be seriously fucked off about the fact that he isn’t the sole focal point of a band where he writes all the songs. Don’t get me wrong, having the guitarist from what many consider one of the all time great indie bands (I personally can’t stand the Smiths, especially that famous one that went on to have a solo career that everyone pretends to like when actually we all know if you met him down the Dog’n’Duck you’d completely brain him) would be pretty damn sweet, but it must have passed the signpost that read ‘novelty’ and completely crossed over into the territory of ‘irritatingly bad idea’.
To drag on about the Marr / Brock situation (which I will as this is online media and hence no space limitations supercalifragilisticexpialidocious): it’s strange to note that, as they walk out to the Forum’s audience, each standing either side of the stage, the difference between the two couldn’t be more apparent. If ever a metaphor was needed for the contrasting stereotypes of America and England, you wouldn’t go far wrong by looking here.
Marr in his finely cut suit (jacket later removed), standing every bit like some working class Dandy looks immaculate. He’s reserved, nonchalant, a truly innovative guitarist… and he looks fucking great. Like your cool, single uncle that you suspect is gay. Elsewhere, singer Brock is every bit the militant Hemingway looking firebrand preacher pointing at the sky and beating his chest, completely engulfed in the music and lyrics.
Unfortunately, it’s an overly ambitious sound they’ve gone for tonight. There are too many instruments; from double basses, accordions, dozens of guitars, TWO drum kits (and drummers!), keyboards, percussion, it all looks like a head-on bus collision between Arcade Fire and the local circus band. It leaves the sound man battling to get levels right as the PA spews forth a muddy sound of indistinct noises dominated by the unnecessarily token novelty of two drummers. The job of a live band is not to try to recreate recorded material, but to reinterpret it for its setting, and this could have worked SO much better if it had been a stripped down punkier three-piece.
The set is dominated with new material from We Were Dead..., surprisingly missing out a stash of quality material from their universally-applauded-totally-fuckin-amazing albums The Lonesome Crowded West and The Moon And Antarctica. But I guess Jonny doesn’t know them yet, right?
Regardless, to the Modest Mouse zealots (which there are surprisingly many… I think they all hide in sewers – not unlike the Ninja Turtles but without the mutagenic slime turning them into reptiles) tonight would have been a success if they’d turned up and farted a couple riffs. The songs are strong enough regardless.
Photograph by Aaron Farrington, taken from Modest Mouse's MySpace, here.
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