Thursday, August 23, 2007

Modest Mouse, Band of Horses, & Love as Laughter - August 22, 2007 Ryman Auditorium, Nashville

Love as LaughterThree bands playing a sold out show at the historic Ryman Auditorium. It just doesn't get much better than that.

It was a fairly late arriving crowd, I'm guilty as well, with the house perhaps 3/4 full for Love as Laughter's (MySpace) set. I had not heard any of their stuff prior to last night, but they were a good opening band on a triple bill. Had I wandered into a club and saw them, I would have been impressed, but had they been the sole opening band for the show, I would have been disappointed, if that makes any sense at all. Overall I enjoyed the short set they played.

Love As Laughter
| Amazon

Band of Horses (MySpace) were up next and I was pretty excited to see what they would bring to the stage. They did not disappoint. They made a solid debut record in "Everything All The Time," and they have built a pretty good reputation as a good live band. It is certainly well earned. They played a couple of new tracks of their forthcoming record, "Cease to Begin," as well as a number of songs from their debut including The Funeral (Tour EP), which is one of those songs that really translated incredibly well on a live stage. They are definitely a band whose music is more remarkable live. I enjoyed the new songs, and I'll definitely pick up the new record on October 9th, but I'll reserve judgment on the new stuff until I can listen to it fully. Regardless of the new record, I'll definitely catch them next time they come around, when they will likely be headlining.

Great Salt Lake (Everything All The Time)
The Funeral (Everything All The Time)

Band of Horses
| Amazon | Sub Pop

Like many, I didn't take notice of Modest Mouse until their ultra-catchy Float On from 2005's "Good News For People Who Love Bad News." Naturally, I downloaded (and later purchased) the entire album expecting to find more hook heavy pop-rock. What I found was quite a shock. Instead of more of the same, I found a true rock record with driving beats, smart sarcastic and caustic lyrics just as contradictory as the title of the record. This was no pop band. Honestly though, it wasn't until the release of "We Were Dead Before the Ship Even Sank," earlier this year, that I really began to delve into their back catalog, one that was far more extensive than I expected. What I found was more of the same. While perhaps not quite as radio friendly as their last two releases, the crux of the music is virtually unchanged and that is a very good thing. Their albums aren't just a collection of songs, but instead a communion of songs strong enough to stand on their own as well. This isn't a review of the band and their releases though, its a review of, without question, one of the best rock band I have ever seen live.

Though the wait seemed like an eternity, it well worth it in the end. As the band launched into the new album's opener Invisible, you could literally feel the intensity of the entire room escalate and continued to do so throughout the night. I began the night in complete disbelief that I was going to see Johnny Marr live. Johnny freakin' Marr, co-founder of The Smiths, one-time member of The The, played on several Billy Bragg (MySpace) releases, and now full time member of Modest Mouse. However, I found myself watching singer Isaac Brock most of the night as he dove headfirst into every song throughout their blistering set. The sheer emotion and unrestrained vigor with which he approached each song was nothing short of amazing and energizing. This despite the fact that he spoke infrequently, and frankly, I couldn't understand what he was saying when he did. They played quite a few songs off the new album as well as a number of songs from their older records. Black Cadillacs and Bukowski off of "Good News For People Who Love Bad News" were especially good, as were the opener, Invisible and Little Motel, from the new record. Highlights of their older material were Doin' the Cockroach from 1997's "Lonesome Crowded West" and Paper Thin Walls from 2000's "The Moon & Antarctica," a song in which Brock launched into after telling Marr to choose a fan to request a song, and then not waiting for a response. They closed their set with a torrid version of one of my personal favorites, The View, also off "Good News..."

The encore consisted of a song from each full length release starting with Custom Concern, from their 1996 debut, "This Is a Long Drive for Someone with Nothing to Think About." Next came Cowboy Dan, a live rarity, from "Lonesome Crowded West," followed by their hit Float On. They closed the evening with a scathing performance of Spitting Venom from their new record that was extended considerably, including lyrics from I Came as a Rat from "The Moon & Antarctica." The finale lasted well over 10 minutes and I was enthralled for every minute, and sad to see it end. Sad, but completely satisfied. I know, without reservation, that the band put every ounce of energy into this show and it was greatly appreciated by this fan. Below is the full setlist, with a few of the songs linked to their studio releases. Also linked below is a torrent of the show. It was a stealth recording, and it is missing a couple of songs, but given the circumstances (no recording devices of any type allowed, it sounds pretty damn good. I'll keep seeding for a while.

Modestmouse2007-08-22.mk4.wilker.flac16.torrent (click to download)
Thanks to mwilker over at

Invisible (We Were Dead Before the Ship Even Sank)
Black Cadillacs (Good News for People Who Love Bad News)
Fire it Up
Tiny Cities Made of Ashes (extended w/ Isaac rant)
Out of Gas
Missed the Boat
Fly Trapped in a Jar
Little Motel (We Were Dead Before the Ship Even Sank)
Doin' the Cockroach (The Lonesome Crowded West)
Paper Thin Walls (The Moon & Antarctica)
Satin in a Coffin
The View (Good News for People Who Love Bad News)

Custom Concern (This is a Long Drive for Someone with Nothing to Think About)
Cowboy Dan (The Lonesome Crowded West)
Float On
Spitting Venom (We Were Dead Before the Ship Even Sank)
I Came as a Rat (The Moon & Antarctica)

Modest Mouse
| Amazon| Modest Mouse

"When we've got ourselves, who needs hell?"


gabriel said...

Just saw Modest Mouse last night at the Edgefield near Portland, OR. Great show, a little short (1 hr 45 min). I guess they were late coming into the venue. Same closing song as your concert but I can't seem to find the lyrics. Sound quality and showmanship was the typical high charged performance you expect from them though. I enjoyed your article and hope you keep posting new music reviews. All the best, Gabriel

Yellow Dog said...

I'm glad you enjoyed your show. I appreciate your kind words. I've been a little slow to post lately b/c I'm migrating many of my files to a dedicated server. Keep checking back.