The first time I saw Modest Mouse, also at the Melkweg, in September 2007, I was blown away. They were touring the We were dead… album, which is packed full of catchy songs. They also played lots of songs from the Good News… album, again plenty to sing along to. Even allowing for the fact that they were (I guess) playing lots of stuff from a forthcoming album last night, it was still – for me at least – a disappointing gig. If you’d never seen them before it would have been great to hear them do Float On, Satin in a Coffin, etc…, but even then the performances were fairly loose and the lead singer didn’t seem to be 100% there. Missed the Boat, in particular, was a bit of a shambles.
The newer songs seemed light on decent choruses or anything like a proper hook, and some of them were way too long. If the album includes the same extended jams as we heard last night it won’t be of interest to me. With two drummers, and sometimes two bass players, in a six-piece band it was a pretty heavy sound a lot of the time. Some of the guitar playing was really good and, as you’d expect, quite odd at times. But I think the fact that Johnny Marr, of Smiths fame, was playing with them in 2007 must have added even more to the sound than I thought at the time. I now definitely want to go see The Cribs playing live, since Mr. Marr has since joined them.
The support act, Yuck, played fairly dull shoegazing rock. One or two nice moments but nothing to write home about. I’d probably have preferred to hear the impressively afro’d drummer.