The National and Modest Mouse opened for the band at this show, and at Jones Beach. What a contrast -- the former can't help but be a little leaden and/or sedate, but they really go for it and try to make the most of playing in a big space. The latter band just seems bored, and refuse to play their biggest hits, or really, aside from "Paper Thin Walls" last night, any of their best material. Between these two shows and the headlining gig I saw them play a year or so ago, I can't help but feel that Modest Mouse are one of the most joyless live acts in the world today. They have a rote professionalism, but that's about it. It's a shame, because Isaac Brock has written a lot of good songs in his day, and he should be doing better than this.
We saw both at the R.E.M. concert in Chicago. Modest Mouse had the worst sound of any band I have ever heard perform live, and I'm including all those screamer bands I heard in the basement of Becky and Lauren's house in Ann Arbor. They were almost daring you not to like them--and I didn't.