Pop-Break Live: Modest Mouse (Starland Ballroom)

Written By Bill Kolbenschlag


It’s been a few years since I’ve been to a concert — especially a real rock ‘n’ roll show. Fittingly, the band I decided to end my dry spell on was Modest Mouse, a group that has taken their own hiatus of sorts, as their last album was released seven years ago.


Thursday night (August 7) they took the stage at Starland Ballroom, which is about five minutes from my house. How could I resist? After all, although I hadn’t listened to many of their albums lately, I was a pretty big fan back in my heyday, and had even seen them rock out at Irving Plaza in 2003.

Thursday night’s show brought me back to the good old days. A nearly two-hour setlist mixed 23 tunes from all the band’s albums and kept the crowd into the show the entire time and made me very happy I decided to attend.

The opener Cowboy Dan” was a fantastic choice and set the tone for the rest of the night. Other notable songs on the set included early favorites “Dramamine,” “Wild Packs of Family Dogs,” (for which lead singer Isaac Brook switched to an acoustic guitar), “Shit Luck,” “Trailer Trash,” “Heart Cooks Brain,” and “Paper Thin Walls.”

Then there were more recent (well, seven years ago) tracks like “Fire it Up,” “Dashboard,” “The World at Large,” and “The Good Times are Killing Me,” among others. We were also treated to a few unreleased songs, which were great.

The band sounded just as good as they did when I saw them more than ten years ago, and maybe even better. The addition of horns, violin, keyboards and extra percussion, as well as a thumping bass background added much more depth to the show. If there was one negative it was that Brook’s voice was sometimes drowned out by all the “extras.” But if you’re familiar with Modest Mouse you know it’s about being a little bit risky and being as creative as possible.

All in all, while this wasn’t the best concert I’ve ever been to, it was certainly worth attending. It left me looking forward to their new album (due out later this year) and pulling out my old collection of music to listen to some of my favorite Modest Mouse tunes.


Cowboy Dan
Dark Center of the Universe
Lampshades On Fire
Dramamine (Life Like Weeds tease)
This Devil’s Workday
Satin in a Coffin
Fire It Up
Talking Shit About a Pretty Sunset
Wild Packs of Family Dogs
Tiny Cities Made of Ashes
Shit In Your Cut
Black Cadillacs
Spitting Venom
Shit Luck
Trailer Trash

Heart Cooks Brain
The World at Large
Paper Thin Walls
The Good Times Are Killing Me

Founded in September 2009, The Pop Break is a digital pop culture magazine that covers film, music, television, video games, books and comics books and professional wrestling.