Published Jul 21, 2014A decade ago, Modest Mouse climbed to near the top of the indie rock world with "Float On," but their output has lagged in recent times. Despite repeated reports of new material in the works, the band haven't released an LP in seven years, and their Pemberton performance suggested that they might be losing some of their fire.
Opening with the chiming intro of "Dramamine," the band performed in a seven-piece configuration that included a violinist and two drummers. Adding some awkwardness to the proceedings, the band's guitar tech stood just next to one of the amplifiers, and was clearly visible from the crowd as she tuned instruments and stared at the ground, looking bored.
Despite the tech's energy-sucking presence, the set still had its highlights: the dance-rocking numbers went over particularly well with the fans, with the grooves of "Dashboard" and "Tiny Cities Made of Ashes" providing an infectious backbone for frontman Isaac Brock's emphatic barks. There were also a few new numbers peppered throughout the set list, hinting that a new collection is indeed in the works.
And, of course, "Float On" was dynamite. It came a few songs from the end of the performance, with one enterprising fan finding his own way of floating on by crowd surfing while laying comfortably on an inflatable pool mattress.
The most telling moment in the set, however, came just after this, when the audience dwindled significantly following the big hit. Although Modest Mouse can still please fans with their old material, it's clearly time for the next phase of their career.
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