Playing the Santa Barbara Bowl last Friday was Modest Mouse – a band that needs no introduction to the Santa Barbara crowd. After the release of its most recent album, We Were Dead Before the Ship Even Sank, the band has become more popular than ever.
Modest Mouse’s set resembled something that one might find on the set of “Pirates of the Caribbean.” The use of red and green lights along with other lanterns set the theme for the night.
Lead singer Isaac Brock brought his best on Friday, playing his heart out with the stressed, fast-paced vocals that define Modest Mous’s style. Brock was, as usual, accompanied by the other main members of the band, along with two others who have been touring and contributing to the band on the last two albums. The first of these two was Tom Peloso, who adds an edgy tone to Modest Mouse with the use of synthesizers, a stand-up bass, violins and other instruments.
Along with Peloso’s use of numerous instruments, Joe Plummer added something that most bands rarely do, the use of a second drummer. The addition of Plummer kicked the bass beats and rhythm section into overdrive, allowing for a variety of percussion instruments to be played without missing a step. During “Fly Trapped in a Jar,” drummer Jeremiah Green’s use of a wood block stuck out and captured my ear. Hearing two drummers tap the bass drum to the intro of “Dashboard” and watching the crowd’s reaction as they slowly realized what song was being played was something that can be delivered only by a perfect show. The slow buildup of the beat and the striking of the guitar eventually led up to the most highly anticipated song of the night.
Playing songs from their most recent album, along with a variety of songs from Good News for People that Love Bad News, the concert was a great success. Coming in second place list of crowd favorites was “Float On,” which even got some of the reporters tapping their feet.
It wasn’t just Peloso’s and Plummer’s additions to the band that rocked the show. Brock’s use of a banjo during “Satin in a Coffin” gave the band the delightful tone that sounds like it should have come from the movie “Deliverance.”
Having finished the set, the band had time for one encore, for which Brock and Peloso appeared back on stage wearing hard hats and a broom claiming that they were cleaning up after themselves. First came “Never Ending Math Equation,” from one of their older albums, which set a nice tone that carried through the next song. The group then ended the night with a combination of two songs, starting and ending with “Spitting Venom” with a bit of “I Came as a Rat” inserted into the middle. Overall, the night ended with everyone feeling like they got all that Brock and the rest of Modest Mouse had to offer. In essence, “We’ve Got Everything.”