Guillermo Prieto/
Modest Mouse. Credit: Guillermo Prieto/

While Modest Mouse has not released a collection of recordings since 2009’s No One’s First and You’re Next, the band still has an incredibly strong fan base: The band appeared at Coachella last year, and the Tuesday, Sept. 23, show by Modest Mouse at Pappy and Harriet’s quickly sold out.

On Tuesday night, the outdoor stage at Pappy’s was crammed full of equipment, and the stage was extended to the maximum. From the evening’s start, nothing went smoothly: A sound check by opening band Mimicking Birds delayed the opening of the doors from the scheduled 7 p.m. until almost 8—when the show was slated to begin.

The Mimicking Birds didn’t wind up taking the stage until close to 9 p.m. The group’s sound was mellow with some hints of psychedelic folk. While much of the crowd seemed uninterested, the band did get some good ovations.

The transition from Mimicking Birds to Modest Mouse took an atypically long time—and it wasn’t until 10 p.m. that Modest Mouse finally took the stage. Lead vocalist and guitarist Isaac Brock was dressed in chaps and a cowboy hat, with a red bandana around his neck; all the other members were dressed normally. They opened their set with “Bury Me With It.”

After “Dark Center of the Universe,” the band slowed things down a bit for “Baby Blue Sedan.” As Brock sang, it was obvious he was struggling. Later, he announced he had woken up with a horrible cold—and told the people standing in front of him they were probably going to get it, too.

During “Night on the Sun,” Brock went crazy with his guitar and his headbanging, which sent his cowboy hat flying off. After that crazy-good performance, out came the banjo for “Satin in a Coffin.” Following the song, Brock mentioned the equinox and asked for the lights to be dimmed while blabbering something about the stars.

The brass instruments came out for “This Devil’s Workday,” which sounded rustic with a bit of dirty rock ’n’ roll thrown in.

Signature hits “The World at Large” and “Float On” were performed shortly before the band left the stage before the encore, which included “Custom Concern,” “Fire It Up” and closer “Tiny Cities Made of Ashes.”

Despite the long waits and crowded outdoor stage area, Modest Mouse put on a solid show. There were some minor incidents; for example, a couple of fans climbed onto the stage—and were quickly removed by security.

One has to wonder why Modest Mouse has released no new material for a half-decade. Let’s hope Modest Mouse doesn’t keep the band’s fervent fan base waiting too much longer.

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Brian Blueskye

A native of Cleveland, Ohio, Brian Blueskye moved to the Coachella Valley in 2005. He was the assistant editor and staff writer for the Coachella Valley Independent from 2013 to 2019. He is currently the...