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What a crazy night. Living in a city where you are not subject to regular weather calamity (snow, flood etc), craziness like the wind we had in Melbourne yesterday is kinda interesting but a bit scary. Especially when you are getting e-mails at work telling you to go home. But what do you do when you have to drive into the city for a gig? And what do you do when the gig is Modest Mouse? Well you brave it of course.

A relatively smooth trip in allowed for a pint before checking out Modest Mouse, along with Hot Hot Heat at the Palace Theatre (nee Metro). The sold out sign greeted us, so inclement weather or not, it was going to be a packed affair.

I was looking forward to this show, but it kinda slipped under the radar a little due to the run of gigs I have had in the last few months, especially when said gigs include bands like Wilco who I am a little obsessive about. But given their show in Melbourne about 18 months ago was a (slightly) unexpectedly awesome show, I was really keen. It was not that last time I expected them to be crappy, but wasn’t prepared for how sonically great they sounded last time. So anyway…

I can’t recall the name of the first band, but that is probably cause I dozed off a little. I don’t know… they just sounded so generic that I can’t remember one thing about them really. Hot Hot Heat then had a punchy 50 min set. I had seen them before too and I thought last night they were OK if nothing great. I really dug their show a couple years ago, but this time not so much. Maybe it was touring on an album I don’t particularly like, but I also thought something just sounded off. And I don’t remember Steve’s vocals sounding so irritating. I like his distinctive voice, but it grated last night. Oh well… I was there mainly to see the rodent anyway.

And so they came on to rapturous applause. The demographic of the show really showed the power of JJJ and the success of the last couple albums. Quite a young crowd. Not too many I wouldn’t think that have The Moon and Antarctica in the collection. Their loss. Isaac and co opened with Bury Me With It from Good News… and it was an awesome opener. Sound was impeccable from the get go. Paper Thin Walls next pointed to a show that would give the back catalogue a solid work made me really happy. Not as happy though as when the extended goodness of Tiny Cities Made of Ashes came about track 5. Gold. Don’t think I can get tired of that track.

Then it got a little flat for me. Nothing major, but I don’t know, just something not quite there. They were still good, and a few tracks from We Were Dead… popped up, as well as the obligatory Float On. Maybe it was that the thrill of seeing them for the first time and being blown away had happened and I got a similar show this time again. For me the most joy in the band came from some of the older tracks. Something like Bukowski had a real fire to it. But a great encore finishing with a massive Doin’ the Cockroach wound up the night well. Isaac got particularly feisty at the end too, jumping into the crowd.

So there you go. Good show. But not amazing. That is no disrespect at all, it may be just given some of the shows of the last couple months I have seen they were always going to have to pull out something special to get an “amazing” out of me. I’ll happily be there again though next time they are in town.

… muttler


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