Modest Mouse At The Agora
May 2nd, 2018
'90s Indie Rockers Modest Mouse played to a packed-to-the-rafters crowd at the newly-renovated Agora Theater last night. The standing room-only crowd, and that's not a misnomer, mouthed in unison to every syllable that frontman Isaac Brock uttered. The Seattle-founded outfit rolled through the 216 and played for well over two hours in a venue that, sadly, still lacks much of anything in the way of air conditioning. The sweating, undulating mass of people that hugged the barriers in front of the Agora's massive main stage ate it up as the band offered a twenty-two song set, taking us all on a journey through the now-based-in-Portland band's almost three-decade career.
While the band has seen personnel changes throughout the years, frontman Brock and drummer Jeremiah Green are the only two original members of the outfit still attached to Modest Mouse, they sounded just as tight and fresh last night as they did when they burst onto the scene with 1996's This Is A Long Drive For Someone With Nothing To Think About.
Plugging along into the early aughts, their release The Moon & Antarctica was a critical smash. Then came Good News For People Who Love Bad News in 2004 and the rest, as they say, was history.
Playing a plethora of tunes from 2015's Strangers To Ourselves, the Indie Rock really shone bright in this Indie Rock outfit's set. At various times throughout the evening, a mandolin, banjo and even a small horn section made an appearance. Keyboardist Tom Peloso did double and triple duty on keys, upright bass and a few different brass instruments, sometimes during the same tune. Viola player Lisa Molinaro, sporting leather pants (How does anyone wear leather pants on a hot, non-air conditioned stage? I'll never understand that, but it didn't affect her ability to sling that viola), took center stage with her strings and tambourine backup while guitar player extraordinaire Jim Fairchild planted himself to her right.
Two percussionists, founding member Jeremiah Green on the center kit, was positioned to the right of effects percussionist Ben Massarella. Like a good bass player, Russell Higbee stood quietly to Brock's right, in the driver's seat and driving the beat all evening.
Starting the night off with "Satellite Skin" from 2009's No One's First And You're Next, the band went into high gear and didn't really let up until the break before their first encore. Their biggest hit, "Dashboard" was a mid-set offering. Concluding with "The Ground Walks, With Time In A Box," they left the stage for a seeming eternity. As the crowd beckoned for the outfit to return to the stage, the temperatures rose yet again in the recesses of the cavernous theater. About twelve minutes after playing their last tune, Modest Mouse returned to the stage. They played another four songs, ending with "A Different City" before departing the stage again for another fifteen minute wait. They finally returned for a second encore, offering another four tunes and ending the show with "Shit Luck."
Which, I guess, was an apt way to describe anyone who wasn't able to score a ticket for last night's show.
Photos and Review by Brian M. Lumley