Do you remember, as a child, pretending to be an astronaut, launching off into space and fighting the evil Martians?
Well, on March 3rd, my Wednesday night was exactly like that, only with Isaac Brock, lead singer of the indie rock band Modest Mouse, yelling at a microphone for a sold-out show at Stubb’s in Austin and without the fighting.
The audience begrudgingly put up with the unheard-of opening band, Mimicking Birds, as the tension built up for what everyone came to see.
Upon leaving the stage, Mimicking Birds received their most enthusiastic applause all night.
After what felt like hours, but in reality was only a few minutes, Isaac Brock stepped onto stage to thundering applause and shouts of glee.
Modest Mouse opened with their hit song Third Planet from the album “The Moon and Antarctica,” a song that speaks about our relative smallness in this oh-so-big world.
In response, the smell of marijuana was prevalent in the outdoor theater. Stubb’s has the unique feel of being swallowed by some sort of large, sea-bearing mammal, which fit in perfectly when “The Whale Song” played.
One actually felt like a small fish swimming among hundreds of other sea-people, but then again, maybe that was because of the pot-polluted air.
The audience swayed with the music in a drug-induced state of merely being and living until the song “Black Cadillacs” came on. The energy rose and all of the sudden everybody anywhere within 100 yards of the stage was bouncing up and down yelling “and we were done, done, done with all the (expletive) around!”
However, by the time the band played the semi-depressing song “Alone Down There” about togetherness, the audience’s energy morphed into an emotional mess of stoners empathizing with all those who do feel alone in this awful age of electronic communication.
One was surprised, and a bit disappointed, that Isaac Brock did not gather a blade from the audience and cut himself on-stage as he has been known to do some of his earlier performances.
As the band played “Float On,” their first number one hit on the Billboard Modern Rock Tracks chart, more joints were lit and more hippie-esque young adults were thrown out by the portly security guard, who was there for the sole purpose of ruining the good time of some attendees.
The band left the stage after playing “The Good Times are Killing Me,” and trust me, it was a good time.
Upon leaving the audience erupted into thunderous applause and pleas for an encore.
Of course Isaac, being the kind, loving soul that he is, came out to play an additional two songs until leaving the audience coming down from a high with ringing ears.
Modest Mouse’s choice to play a smaller venue in Austin reflects the general demeanor of the band: don’t be sellouts (though some would argue they failed that when they released Good News for People Who Love Bad News in 2004).
The physical closeness of the audience to one another and to the stage was a nice parallel to the songs’ meanings.
The multicolored, ever-in-motion lights acted like the iTunes visualizer on acid and proved to be a stimulating addition to the atmosphere of the concert.
The show left us all emotionally drained and and other attendees a little stoned. If the opportunity to catch a Modest Mouse show in the future presents itself, I would encourage you to attend. The entire crowd seemed to enjoy themselves as much as my friends and I did and it’s really doubtful that anyone wouldn’t have a great time.
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