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Mace & Crown | November 22, 2017

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Modest Mouse is Anything but Coy at the TED

Zach Moeller
Contributing Writer

After a lively opening set from Philadelphia indie folk-rockers Hop Along, Modest Mouse took the stage of the Ted Constant Center. Only eight days after Jeremih and Rae Sremmurd rocked the Ted, lead singer Isaac Brock and his troupe of humble rodents offered a much different aesthetic to concert goers on Oct. 24.

Modest Mouse embarked on a national tour coinciding with the band’s latest album release. “Strangers to Ourselves” is the first record from the indie icons in eight years, and has been well received by fans and critics alike. This reception was evident as the arena was filled with an eruption of cheers when the lights dimmed and the group took the stage. Little time was wasted as Brock, sporting a multicolored jacket, began strumming the intro to  “I Came As a Rat.”

Tunes from the new album came into play as Brock shed his jacket, and the band tore into the song “Be Brave.” Modest Mouse managed to blend their new releases with old fan favorites, and played at least one song off of each of their six studio albums. Other songs featured on EPs throughout the years also found their way into the setlist, as the crowd danced along and sang in unison.

The atmosphere of the Ted completely transfixed fans as fog machines and dazzling lights synchronized with the eerie high-pitched guitars played alongside the strings of Lisa Molinaro’s viola.

modest mouse

Isaac Brock, lead singer of Modest Mouse, at the Ted Center on October 24, 2015. Photo by Jason Kazi

After playing an extended version of the song “Lampshades on Fire,” the group dove into the well-known “Dramamine,” stoking the crowd into a frenzy as they sang along to the 1996 release. The lights dimmed for a moment, and as they focused on the stage once again, Brock stood wielding the banjo as he lead into the song “King Rat.” The banjo rolled, the horns roared, and the drums beat in an almost frightening pattern as Brock belted out the lyrics, before smoothly transitioning into “Bukowski.”

The crowd became particularly engaged towards the tail end of the set, during which the venue trembled from the blaring amplifiers. “Black Cadillacs” prompted a loud response from attendees, followed by an explosive performance of “Fly Trapped In a Jar.”

All eight members then bowed, before a sniffling Brock instructed the crowd “don’t catch colds,” before exiting the stage. The crowd hadn’t had their full fix yet, however, and applauded and cheered until the ensemble returned.

modest mouse

Multi-instrumentalist Lisa Molinaro of Modest Mouse at the Ted Center on Oct. 24, 2015. Photo by Jason Kazi.

The sad, distant opening riff of “World at Large” filled the arena, followed by several subsequent songs, each of which surprised the audience who feared the concert’s finale.

When the show’s conclusion finally did arrive, it was in the form of “The Good Times are Killing Me.” The room swooned with Brock’s tales of addiction and substance abuse, followed by an extended outro delivered by a smiling band. They bid farewell, and the lights came on as the crowd slowly poured out of the room.

Outside there was a general feeling of happiness and satisfaction as people discussed what they had just witnessed. With such warm adoration, it would be no surprise if Modest Mouse returned to Norfolk soon.