Sound Scene Express

Modest Mouse: Behind the Lens with Zach Nellis

Modest Mouse
w/ Brand New
July 5, 2016
Stage AE (Outdoors)

A few Months ago, when this show was announced at stage AE, I remember feeling my heart drop. I believe within the time it took for my heart to drop to my stomach, the tickets sold out. I had seen both Modest Mouse and Brand New each one time before, on separate occasions, but knew that seeing them together the same night on one stage would be a whole new experience. Despite the fact that I knew my only chance of seeing the show would be through the means of a media pass, I still procrastinated and waited till the last minute to inquire about photographing the show (like a dingus). Unfortunately because of this I was only able to photograph Modest Mouse’s performance, but not Brand New. I was pretty bummed at first, but during the anxious wait for Brand New to take the stage I realized I was about to see an amazing show that hundreds of my fellow yinzers were wishing they were at.

Being that this was a co-headline tour, both bands took turns closing out the night at different stops. For Pittsburgh, Modest Mouse kicked off the night and Brand New closed. Around 7:30 Modest Mouse took the stage opening with, “Trailer Trash,” off of their album The Lonesome Crowded West, released in 1997. During their first few songs it seemed like the stage was already full, with lead singer Isaac Brock backed by a bassist, guitarist, and two drummers. But as the night went on, it seemed like the band added another instrument with each song. Bringing up a violinist and multiple trumpet players, the stage was packed by the halfway point of their performance. This full ensemble of instruments, along with Brock’s banjo skills gelled perfectly for their older songs like “Bukowski” and “This Devil’s Workday.”

After about a half hour of waiting for the sound check between bands, Brand New took the stage. The second that the crowd realized that it was actually Jesse Lacy standing behind the mic and not just another stage crew worker, everyone rushed forward trying to get just a little bit closer. The first few songs were newer ones that I was not familiar with, but there was still a slew of dedicated fans singing along to every word. Around this time I started getting a little worried about having my camera and equipment with me in the middle of an energetic and extremely hot crowd, so I decided I would wait till they played a song I really knew before I split for some fresh air. Luckily for me that song happened to be “Sic Transit Gloria…Glory Fades.” I definitely wasn’t the only person there excited to hear the first few notes of the song. The crowd was so excited we may have sung a bit faster than the band was playing, but there’s just something about screaming “die young and save yourself” at the top of your lungs that just gets your blood pumping.

Once I caught my breath from screaming along to …Glory Fades I said goodbye to a few friends I had found amongst the crowd, and made my way out of the area as everyone began singing along to the next song. After a quick check to make sure my camera wasn’t broken during the mayhem of the first few songs, I found an open area to catch my breath. Knowing that I had a slew of photos to sort and edit, I decided to head out a few songs early to beat the traffic. Of course I had to stop at the merch table to pick up a Brand New shirt since there was virtually no line. As I left the venue I heard Jesse Lacy announcing the next song, “The Boy Who Blocked His Own Shot.” With a new shirt over my shoulder and a smile on my face, I be-bopped my way back to my car humming along to one of my favorite songs.

Modest Mouse Setlist Stage AE, Pittsburgh, PA, USA 2016, Brand New and Modest Mouse U.S. Tour

Brand New Setlist Stage AE, Pittsburgh, PA, USA 2016, Brand New and Modest Mouse U.S. Tour

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