Modest Mouse Samples Its Vast Catalog At Brooklyn Bowl

A few years back I heard a rumor that the musicians of Modest Mouse had vowed to stop playing “Float On” at all of their concerts. Obviously, that’s not the case now—the group continues to include the Grammy-winning track on each tour stop set list—but for a moment after hearing such a ridiculous claim, I was actually upset.

While I’m no Modest Mouse diehard, I’m much more than a fairweather fan—and to hear that the band’s biggest hit to-date would be nixed from any opportunity to see them live was disappointing. But after attending the Seattle-based outfit’s show at Brooklyn Bowl, I’m thinking a “Float On” ban would be best for the veteran indie rockers’ fans.

While frontman Isaac Brock conducted his crew through a magnificent set—each track sounded just like its album cut (or, in a few instances, single and EP recordings), with Brock’s gritty vocals roaring above an instrumentation with obvious synergy and a pulsating energy—it seemed as though the crowd was less than enthused. More than half of the audience was static throughout the set—I scanned the venue more than once hoping for even just a head bobbing to the beat (all unsuccessful), and towards the end of the show many had retired to sitting on the floor in the back of the venue. WTF?!

I chalked this phenomenon up to the fact that, likely, most attendees purchased tickets to hear that one song—and don’t get me wrong, it’s a damn good song (radio overplay aside)—which the band saved for the encore.

Modest Mouse played a mix of cuts, from its 1996 debut album through 2015’s Strangers To Ourselves, which should have been satisfying for loyal fans and newbies alike—though it seemed the latter wasn’t impressed with anything until the band’s radio-play darling, which unfortunately made it a downer for this writer (and likely many other fans in attendance).

★★★✩✩

Photos by Erik Kabik Photography

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