Modest Mouse Parc Jean-Drapeau, Montreal QC, August 2

Modest Mouse Parc Jean-Drapeau, Montreal QC, August 2
Photo: Ellie Pritts
Kicking things off with "Dramamine," the opening track from their 1996 debut LP This Is A Long Drive For Someone With Nothing To Think About, Modest Mouse tore things up with a whirlwind of bruising indie-rock set to lead singer Isaac Brock's iconic, lisping howl.

The band has never been bigger, including up to eight musicians on stage at a time to ensure that the band's diverse, expansive sound was replicated live. This choice worked wonders, allowing the band to shift from standard radio rock fare on "Dashboard" to vaudevillian hootenannies "The Devil's Workday" and "Satin in a Coffin," featuring upright bass, a three-piece horn section, banjo and violin. The set contained mid-set highlight "The World at Large," from 2004's Good News For People Who Love Bad News, which began as a nice, calm breather that swelled into a gorgeous orchestral climax.

While the band cancelled a tour last year to work on a follow-up, there seem to be no new signs of a record on the horizon. Even the two "new" songs played at Osheaga have been in their live repertoire for well over a year, but this demonstrated that the band is back to crafting music that would best soundtrack a bar fight, with thumping percussion and Brock howling his heart out.

Ending with the pleasantly foreboding "The Good Times Are Killing Me," Modest Mouse proved that they still have the endearing tunefulness that has kept them going despite having not released a proper full-length in over seven years. Judging by their Osheaga set, they've still got their stumbling swagger, and when the album drops, it won't be a moment too soon.

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