Modest Mouse, indie rock’s heroes of soft sounds and angular diction, are playing Oakland’s Fox Theater on Telegraph Ave, this Thursday, May 24th. Any band who can make a crowd-pleasing show of songs with titles like “The Ground Walks, With Time In A Box” (from 2015), 1999’s “Heart Cooked Brain”, and the gloriously-named “Lampshades on Fire” (a three-word story all to itself), is worth celebrating. And, 25 years into their career, Modest Mouse has a lot to celebrate.
The band started out in the suburbs of Seattle in 1992 when an 18-year-old Isaac Brock teamed up with bassist Eric Judy and drummer Jeremiah Green. Their first extended play, Blue Cadet-3, Do You Connect? was released in 1994, and had the strength to emerge from the grieving home of grunge with a sound that was quizzical while packing a punch. Since then, 6 albums – most notably 2004’s Good News for People Who Love Bad News – have seen them look sideways at their world, and earned them Grammy and VMA nominations.
Lineup changes have seen a rolling roster of players, including the startling membership of Johnny Marr, guitarist and musical driving force behind The Smiths, for 2008’s We Were Dead Before The Ship Even Sank, but Green and Brock have stayed constant. The band have added to the lineup over time, and at the Fox Theater this week they’ll be a nine-piece, featuring Jim Fairchild (guitars), Tom Peloso (horns), Russell Higbee (bass), Lisa Molinaro (keys, strings), and Ben Massarella (effects), as well as touring percussionist Davey Brozowski.
The venue they’ve picked for the show this week is the historic Fox Theater. Located on Telegraph Avenue in downtown California, the Fox is another of San Francisco’s classic music venues, filling old buildings (the theater is on the National Register of Historic Places) with living sound, and since it’s $75m renovation and reopening in 2009, it’s seen some huge shows, from artists including Bob Dylan, B.B. King, Green Day, twenty-one pilots, Paul Simon, Atoms for Peace, Lorde, and Animal Collective.
The show is part of a nationwide that’s seeing them play in venues from the King’s Theatre in Brooklyn to San Marcos, TX’s tube-based Float Fest. At the Fox, and in San Luis Obispo on Tuesday 22nd, they’ll be supported by Mimicking Birds, who are supporting their new album Layers of Us. It’s a high-quality support act, and Mimicking Birds will be bringing their dreamy-but-muscular rock, honed by more than a decade on Isaac Brock’s Glacial Pace Recordings label.
Modest Mouse’s last release was 2015’s Strangers to Ourselves, so the show has a decent chance of being a retrospective on a career that’s gone to some great places, and done a lot to shape the music of those around them. Modest Mouse bear the marks of a hard-working, innovative career, with a sound that has deepened into something that might be mellower, but is stronger too; overlook the power of what Modest Mouse can do on stage at your peril.
The show promises to be great; consider heading over to the Fox Theater on May 24th, this Thursday, for one of the West Coast’s great modern acts.
Modest Mouse plays the Fox Theater // Thursday, May 24, 2018 // Doors: 7:00 pm | Show: 8:00 pm // SOLD OUT
Photo courtesy of Chromatic Publicity
— Modest Mouse (@modestmouseband) April 18, 2018