Photo by Jeremy Wilkins
Modest Mouse and Rilo Kiley
McKay Events Center
When I left work to drive to this show, I had mixed feelings. I was stoked to be going to the show courtesy of my SLUG Mag credentials, but the fact that it was an arena show “de-stoked” me a great deal, yet I did my best to stay positive. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not one of those “Modest Mouse sold out!” kinds of people; in fact, almost the opposite. I’m stoked they have a few radio songs here and there-good for them! They’re old enough that they ought to be able to pay their bills and have a home and if a couple radio hits and a major label is what they need make that happen, then so be it! My qualms lie more with the stereotypical terrible sound arena shows provide, along with annoying and ignorant “fans,” who are only there because they heard about the show on their favorite corporate rock station.
Once arriving, it took about 30-35 minutes to park my car and cost me $3, which was frustrating, but to be expected for a show of this magnitude. Once I entered, it was easy to see that the crowd was mixed with stalwart MM fans that had been followers long before Float On hit the airwaves as well as the new radio kids. Rilo Kiley fans were much less distinguishable, though once RK started playing it was apparent they were definitely in attendance.
As the house lights went dim and the stage lights came to life, RK took the stage. I’ll be the first to admit that I have never listened to RK before, though I’ve heard much about them and been aware of them for quite some time. The closest I have come is lead vocalist Jenny Lewis’ work with Ben Gibbard on The Postal Service. I must say I was pleasantly pleased with all that I saw and heard. The energy of Lewis and Blake Sennett (guitar and vocals) flowed freely from the stage to the crowd. Within the first few songs, it was easy to spot longtime fans and those who were quickly becoming fans. As the lights changed frequently, so did the mood of the songs, allowing the band to display their various levels of talent and when the band bid their farewells and exited the stage. It seemed much too soon.
The set change was rather short and, before long, MM stormed the stage wearing transparent masks as if they were on their way to a bank robbery. One thing was sure: They stole the show. Though Isaac Brock, lead vocals and guitar, wore his mask his discordant screams and shrieks could not be hid. Within seconds, the crowd was in frenzy. People began crowd surfing toward the stage and over the front of the barricade like a waterfall into the security guards’ hands. The band paced themselves with slow, mid-tempo and faster songs throughout the set and mixed in a good deal of remarks and jokes to the crowd, courtesy of Brock and his unique sense of humor. The addition of Johnny Marr, formerly of legendary band The Smiths, made a noticeable difference for the better in MM’s overall sound and stage presence. After a long and musically diverse set, the band took a small break and came out a few minutes later for a powerful encore, which included the new "Spitting Venom" and older "Broke" with lyrics from "I Came as a Rat." I’ll tell you one thing, arena or not, RK and MM put on a show worthy of much praise.
View photos shot by Jeremy of this event at SLUG Mag Photos!