“The Lonesome Crowded West” And Modest Mouse Prove They Age Well



Photos by Vito Ingerto
It’s been 25 years since the Pacific North West’s Modest Mouse released “Lonesome Crowded West”. It was arguably one of the most influential Indie Rock releases. The album held up a mirror to the realities
of effects of urbanization on the landscape and the toll it took on its inhabitants. It documented a way to navigate the disillusionment of the consumer driven society. The lyrics and themes were some dark
shit, right before the beginning of a new century. But the music behind the lyrics was raw, potent, yet nuanced. It was even danceable at times. The themes on “Lonesome Crowded West” resonate just as
hard today as they did then, and with their performance at the Palace Theatre on Saturday night, the music did too.

Opener Mattress was a vision in gold. Self-described very accurately as Industrial Lounge Music, this is someone you would see in a post-apocalyptic nightclub. Electronic beats pulsed as Mattress crooned
into the mic. The beats were solid, and he had the crowd grooving.

Modest Mouse came out and wasted no ones time by launching into a savage version of “Teeth Like God’s Shoeshine”. The packed Palace responded instantly, getting a small mosh pit going on the floor.
The current lineup, led by singer, songwriter and guitarist Isaac Brock and founding drummer Jeremiah Green, sounded amazing. In the past, there were shows that were less than stellar, but Saturdays show
at the Palace was nothing short of spectacular. No small feat, given the talent it takes to sound relaxed on such complex tunes as “Truckers Atlas” and “Jesus Was An Only Child”. They appeared happy. Maybe
it showed the band had matured, maybe it was the familiarity of playing the same set every night. 

They played the album, in order, from start to finish in about 90 minutes. Joined by bassist Russell Higbee and guitarist Simon O’Connor, the show really highlighted the monumental importance of this
release. The live performance was able to capture the huge vistas and even bigger ideas on the bands second studio production. “Shit Luck” was probably the banger of the night. The band showed amazing range, the stop on a dime tempo reversals of “Teeth Like God’s Shoeshine”, the irregular beats of “Heart Cooks Brain”, to the hauntingly beautiful “Cowboy Dan”. Grateful Dead like jams on tunes like “Trailer Trash” and “Lounge (Closing Time)  highlighted an impressive display of a band centered around the art. For the encore, the band started with a dope cover of The Flaming Lips “Five Stop Mother Superior Rain”. Then band blew the dust off of some deep cuts with  “Never Ending Math Equations”, “Grey Ice Water” and “3rd Planet”.

The band was tight the entire evening, and if you closed your eyes you couldn’t tell 25 years had passed since Lonesome Crowded West was released.