Roskilde 2022: Modest Mouse gives the people what they need … sort of

Modest Mouse’s performance left something to be desired, but their hit song didn’t disappoint
★★★☆☆☆

Isaac Brock, lead singer and guitarist of Modest Mouse, is one of only two founding members still in the band
June 30th, 2022 11:32 pm| by Jared Paolino
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Modest Mouse, the American indie rock band, has been gracing stages for nearly two decades, first achieving mainstream success with their 2004 smash hit ‘Float On’.

Last night, under the expansive canopy of Roskilde Festival’s Avalon Stage, that iconic track held as much meaning as ever. After back-to-back cancellations of the festival – and more than two years of pandemic living – both ‘Float On’ and the return of Roskilde are a reminder of the only thing we can really do: keep going.

Unfortunately, however, the performance preceding that generational anthem was lacking.

A slow start
An early evening performance, it’d be perhaps unfair to expect too much energy from the crowd. As some folks ambled in under the cover of tent, many remained outside, taking seats on the grass in the surrounding field. For the most part, Modest Mouse failed to bring these people to their feet.

Like many festival performances, the start was abrupt and unceremonious.

“Hey everyone, how’s it going?” asked leadman Isaac Brock, one of the two founding members of the band still performing, along with drummer Jeremiah Green.

A second later, he strummed his guitar, and the show began.

Rises and falls
The first two tracks, monotonous, speaker-straining numbers, encouraged many who had been on the fence to look elsewhere for their evening entertainment.

The third track, ‘We’re lucky’, breathed some life into the audience. Off their most recent album – ‘The Golden Casket’ – it could have been the turn of the tide, but the next tracks failed to deliver.  

From there, the night follows a similar pattern of rises and falls. A series of promising hooks melted away until … one didn’t. It was unquestionably Modest Mouse – an eclectic mashup of sounds and styles that somehow fit together, shouty but lyrical, introspective and anxiety-ridden – but something was lacking.

A strong finish
As the performance wound down, and those who came for the one Modest Mouse song they know wondered if they’d get to hear it, those unmistakable notes sounded in the air.

Heads lifted, smiles lit up faces. One man, exiting the tent, heard the notes, stopped, turned around and re-entered. As he did so, another  man who had heard the sound from outside, ran excitedly inside.

Three minutes later ‘Float On’ came to an end. Brock said his thanks, and the crowd dispersed quickly. There were no calls for an encore – it ended just the way people wanted it to.

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