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Modest Mouse
Gig Review
Modest Mouse, Frightened Rabbit
Frightened Rabbit play an energetic warm up set, the crux of which is made up from 'Midnight Organ Fight'. The band debut a few new tracks from their forthcoming LP 'The Winter Of Mixed Drinks', upon hearing these tracks it wouldn't surprise me if next year was to be a breakout year for the Scottish five piece. New single  'Swim Until You Can't See Land' is a slow burner that seeps into your soul, success surely awaits them next year.

Seminal American indie act Modest Mouse have prepared 50 songs for this tour. And they don't disappoint their die hard following, but leave those not as well versed on their back catalogue wanting a few more crowd pleasers.

They arrive on stage to a hero's welcome and tear through 'Dramamine' with real ferocity giving us an indication as to how this gig is going to pan out. 'The View', 'Never Ending Maths Equation' and 'Interstate 8'  are tried out on the capacity crowd at the Mandela Hall. And, although they sound wonderful, you get the feeling the crowd are waiting for Modest Mouse to pull out the big guns.  

They appease the Belfast crowd with 'Dashboard' as it gets the first real reaction from the crowd - mini moshes, sing a longs and pints in the air. This is more like it. Front man Issac Brock really shines during this and his quirky vocal styling, reminiscent of Tom Waits, is arguably better live than on record.

'Here It Comes' plays out to very little reaction.  'Tiny Cities Made of Ashes' is met with a more positive response and it gets a new lease of life. Live it sounds like it should have been released on DFA records, with the pulsating bass making you want to move your feet. They slow things down with 'Missed the Boat', 'Gravity Rides Everything' and 'Bukowski', showing that they can do Americana as good as anybody.

More unfamiliar tracks like 'Satellite Skin' and 'Out Of Gas' are met with disdain from the crowd before they launch into Float On which leaves the Mandela Hall singing the lyrics in unison, a staple of any indie disco this track has firmly cemented its place as a classic. As the crowd collect their breath, Modest Mouse finish with 'Parting of The Sensory', they leave the stage for that long that we begin to doubt if there will be any encore.

But Brock and Co. return to fire out 'Dancehall' and 'Waydown'. Leaving us exhausted and satisfied, one of the most highly anticipated gigs in Belfast this year proves to be well worth the wait.

A pretty special gig by all accounts, a few more well known tracks from 'Good News For People Who Love Bad News' and 'We Were Dead Before The Ship Even Sank' would have appeased the less partisan fans of the band. A complete lack of crowd interaction made it feel a little impersonal at times as well. But that's just a few minor gripes on an otherwise fantastic gig.

Paul Mullin

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Gig Details
Venue: Mandela Hall
Location: Belfast
Date: 9/12/2009

Related Links
+ Modest Mouse (myspace)