The plan was simple. Wake up by 4p.m. and avoid the clash of ideas with the priest upstairs, pick up my girlfriend from her workplace, and then drive to Grinders to do the job. Watch the Modest Mouse show and have a fast and fun time, but the day was destined for ugly failure. I woke up at 6p.m. in the basement of what could be considered a cowardly man’s church. I quickly looked for my keys and wallet, then went upstairs to find the priest just sitting there waiting to spew regurgitated knowledge of what he thought was the way to live life, but it was really just a coward’s lecture on how to never live and just criticize and fear the world outside. He told me I should forsake my penis and sex and whiskey and music and all I could think was “look at this sad little man who looks like Napoleon Bonaparte, hiding behind a book he does not even understand.”
“Alright” I said, “rehab tomorrow, but have a show to get to tonight.” There is a good reason why it’s always the religious fanatics that are chopping up their families and touching little boys and never the free-loving liberals, we free-loving liberals may love our sex, our music, and maybe sometimes, a little substance enhancement; yes, we play hard at midnight, but we are also the people that fight the good fight during daylight hours.
I picked up my girlfriend and headed for Grinders, trying to shake off my wake-up conversation. The GPS said it would take some twenty minutes, but I planned on getting there in fifteen. My excitement was making me push the gas pedal hard, straight to the floor, but the fear of police was making me refrain from speeding. My mind was being pulled between fear and overwhelming excitement. I was not going to miss a second of Modest Mouse; they had won my heart ever since I heard their album Good News For People Who Love Bad News with track eight, “Bukowski,” one of the greatest songs ever made about religion. Then there was track sixteen, “The Good Times are Killing Me,” a song I understood all too well. The lure of the idea that I might get to hear these live made me pulse with excitement and the only question was, what kind of fans would be there?
We arrived at the worst possible time, when everybody else did as well. “Screw finding a parking spot, let’s just leave this piece of a car here right in the middle of the street,” I thought. But then my rotten logic came about and I knew I would have no ride back after the show. Okay, keep cool, there has got to be something around here. After a short search, there was, but there would be a long walk. After getting through the gates and onto a ground covered in wood chips, I immediately grabbed my girlfriend’s hand and started moving as close to the front of the stage as possible. After a very long wait, Modest Mouse came on stage opening with a song I had never heard before, and something was already wrong, I could not hear the vocals very well at all. It was my first notice of technical problems that would plague the band for the whole show. You could see roadies scrambling in the background, trying to fix what seemed to be an overwhelming list of technical problems. I’m sure some of the crowd noticed what was happening on the stage, but a lot of the other patrons of the show had been drinking copious amounts of alcohol in their long wait for the band to play, and that’s where the real story, the real entertainment was. To the drunkards, there are no tech problems with the show. Especially this couple next to us that kept stumbling around, spilling their beers on people, and the guy could not help but try and pull off his girlfriend’s shirt for the entire show. It was true entertainment watching the fools fall down and roll around in what was now just mud. HA! Just great people, they get five out of five.
As the tech problems went on, it killed any possibility for me to enjoy the show. I kept finding myself daydreaming during the songs and not even giving a damn if they played another song or if they just left. Even during the songs I really love like “Black Cadillacs,” or “This Devil’s Workday,” the quality of the audio made what are great songs just okay. The problems got so bad at one point that lead singer Isaac Brock had to make small talk with the crowd while they tried to fix the audio and, to top it all off, the guy next to me would not share his weed, what a prick. HA! The problems continued when Modest Mouse had to stop playing so an ambulance could get a fan that I’m guessing did not use her drugs properly (I hope she’s okay) out of there for proper help. It was a good twenty minutes before the band came back to finish what was left of the set, and by then any buzz that was originally going was totally dead, and trying to feel any kind of emotion towards the music at that point was impossible.
Blaming Modest Mouse for the problems of the show would be irresponsible. They seemed like great people who play great music when they can actually project the vocals, two drum sets, trumpets, and so on properly. Hell, my black friend who I cannot name (he is in a political race this year, so I will call him “sweep”) told me when he saw them they were great if you can hear the variety of sound. So, Modest Mouse and I will meet again and we will meet on better terms. And, oh yeah, enjoy your sex and enjoy your whiskey and screw anyone who says otherwise.
I give Modest Mouse 3 “frustrated band members” out of 5
by Josh Davis