Modest Mouse, redux

Modest Mouse. In Sioux Falls.

What the fuck?

Last night, at the cozy Ramkota Ballroom (an area that Kerrie and I actually visited for a wedding expo, of all things,) Modest Mouse, my favorite band in the known world, came and rocked my face off. I’m serious – I looked down and my face was on the floor, singing along with The Mouse on its own.

How this came about I’ll never know. I looked at my e-mail one day and the Modest Mouse mailing list had sent me an e-mail hyping their next tour stops – and Sioux Falls was right there. I spent five days wondering if it was true, and then the Argus Leader confirmed it later. I was ecstatic.

The last time Modest Mouse came to town, in 1996, only 10 people showed up. This time over 1500 showed up. It was pretty intense – a great show. It was pretty similar to the First Ave show I went to in February, so I’ll just link that review.

Here’s what bothered me. People. That’s it.

Modest Mouse has gained a wider fan base than they would have had in 2001, as evidenced by the 150-fold increase in attendance, and I would say that the majority of the fan base is, at most, slightly familiar with anything other than their newest album, Good News for People Who Love Bad News. While this is okay – I’m not going to look down my nose at people who are not the “biggest fan ever” – it leads to an interesting mix of people.

At First Ave we stood by the bar, on a balcony, and had a clear view of the stage throughout the show. I never had to jostle for position or crane my body around someone taller than me in order to see the show. In Sioux Falls, however, there is no balcony. It was all-ages all in one area, and this led to an overcrowded “bar” area (where they had between two and three “tenders” servicing about 50 people at a time and they ran out of beer before Modest Mouse even started playing,) and a percentage of the crowd that became disinterested in any non Good News song – all of which seemed to be standing in front of me.

“Cowboy Dan” is one of Modest Mouse’s epic songs, one of my favorites and it was a pleasant surprise to hear them play it. While I watched the band rock out an extended jam session, though, I was annoyed to find the girls in front of me taking each others pictures. One would turn so that the band was in their background and smile — *click* — and then would pass the camera and continue with another person. I ignored them the best I could, but Kerrie was understandably upset. It was pretty annoying.

We also had a herd of pre-graduation college “dudes” trying to start a mosh pit (a mosh pit at Modest Mouse?) and a proliferation of smutty looking teenagers pushing their way to the front, watching for five minutes, and walking back out – repeating this about ten more times.

It was a great show. I loved it. But I was able to see the stark difference between having a show in an exhibition hall and having it at a bar designed for music shows. It was, however, a good test of how accessible our mini-city can be for the kind of shows that usually pass us by.

To top it off, I was able to go home after the show instead of a hotel or a friends house to crash on a couch. Also, we saved about $40.00 in gas by not driving to the Cities.

That alone was worth the 25 bucks.

This was lovingly handwritten on June 3rd, 2005