Let’s get this out of the way: Modest Mouse was a disappointment. It’s hard to understand how such a good band can put on such a mediocre show. There was, however, a nice reward at the end…
We arrived a little early on August 29th, checked in, and head to the Old Mill District across the Deschutes River from Les Schwab Amphitheater. We had pizza and beer at Flatbread Neopolitan Pizzeria and then headed to the amphitheater. We were second in line at the first gate you come to off of the bridge. Of course, when the gates opened, I headed to the beer tent, while Peggy snagged a slightly left-center spot in front of the stage.
The first thing I noticed was there were no spotlights in the sound tower. The “light show” – part of an overall concert experience – was completely based on the same lighting system we’ve seen there before; it was nothing special. Had there been spotlights, it would have been much better. But, what there was, was pretty well timed with the band.
The next thing I noticed was the standard PA system and no bass speakers down in front. Ok…. The band had the usual racks of speakers, however.
Peggy went off to get us a couple of gyros to munch on while we waited for the entertainment to start. Once again, the lead off band was nothing special and we can’t remember their name either, but were entertaining enough for the crowd.
Modest Mouse took the stage and it didn’t take long to see the sound crew was not up to par. When you are right down front and you can barely hear the lead singer, well, somethings wrong. Yes, it’s rock and roll (which is why we go). Yes, it’s loud (yet another reason to go). But, if you can hear the singer???
Don’t get me wrong, we love MM’s music and lyrics and the fact they’re from the Pacific Northwest. Home town boys. But, don’t they know how to have fun? Take the drummer, Jeremiah Green. His facial expressions hardly changes and he looks bored. Like a machine.
Ben Massarella, the percussionist, on the other hand, was having a good time and showed it! And, he interacted with the audience! Especially with those in the front row! He looked closer to Peggy’s age than the younger crowd that usually attends MM concerts and he made eye contact on several occasions. There were other, younger women there catching his eye as well. In the end, one of the most incredible things to happen to Peggy (besides being the first one Ben Harper came over to to shake hands with her at his concert in the same venue, several years ago), we watched as a stage hand went over and picked up the set list from Brock’s spot, step down off the stage, walked over to Peggy and, literally pushing other people’s hands out of the way, placed the list directly in the hands of Peggy – knocking away someone who tried to grab it!!! How awesome is that! Peggy scored our first set list and from Modest Mouse as well!
So, even though the concerts wasn’t as good as it could be, things turned out alright.
We headed home the next day and arranged to have the list framed.