Modest Mouse – Shepherd’s Bush Empire (Mon Dec 14th)

So, how did the start of my busy gig week go? Very good. In fact, superb at times, just not consistently.

As a live band Modest Mouse do a fantastic job of recreating their busy & layered recordings. The six members indulged in a lot of instrument swapping to recreate to rich sounds of their records, including at various points of the gig trumpet, double bass, and violin. Oh, and two drummers, which worked to great effect on some of the louder tracks like ‘Tiny Cities Made Of Ashes’, which itself was a gig highlight with an all out assault of heavy bassline, screaming guitars, and double drumming.

Fortunately, despite only owning the band’s more recent material, I knew the majority of the set. It was very heavy on standout tracks from the last two full albums ‘We Were Dead Before The Ship Even Sank’ and ‘Good News For People Who Like Bad News’, such as ‘Dashboard’, ‘Parting Of The Sensories’, and a frenzied version of crowd request ‘Dance Hall’. Probably the highlight for me was encore closer ‘The Whale Song’, taken from recent EP ‘No One’s First And You’re Next’.

As good as the high points were, the crowd atmosphere seemed quite lacking from where I was and therefore some of the slower numbers seemed to drag. Frontman Isaac Brock apologised for his sore throat at the start of the gig, and in all honesty it didn’t seem to affect his performance. In fact the band seemed to be giving it 110%, with recently joined ex-Grandaddy member Jim Fairchild fitting in seamlessly on guitar duties.

Maybe it was the lacking atmosphere at times, the venue, or my tiredness, or the abundance of idiots pushing their way through the crowd throughout, but for me it fell a bit short of being an amazing gig, however the high points of the set made it more than worthwhile, and I’d have no hesitation in rushing to see them again.

We Were Dead Before the Ship Even Sank

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2 responses to “Modest Mouse – Shepherd’s Bush Empire (Mon Dec 14th)

  1. Good review..well written! Thought the atmosphere was good where I was…London crowds are always like this? Have to add that the Safety Crew were remniscent of the gestapo through not allowing anyone to video the show, but i was discreet: http://www.flickr.com/photos/nigesphotobox/sets/72157622884712247/

  2. Cheers for the comment. Nice photos – I guess the atmosphere would have been a lot better down there!
    I guess the crowd was fairly typical of London, I was just a bit far back to get the atmosphere of it. Good work getting some videos, will check them out later!

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