Modest Mouse tour welcomes an unexpected mix of fans

The alternative rock band sell out the CFA Monday night


The popular alternative band Modest Mouse played for a sold-out audience at the Center for the Arts Monday night.

Filling both the balcony and floor seats, fans crowded into the intimately structured venue for three hours worth of music. The crowd welcomed touring opener, Termination Dust, an alternative band that shared the headliner’s label. 

Modest Mouse performed a 16-song set and a three-song encore. It began the performance with “Night on the Sun,” the title track from the 1999 EP of the same name. The audience rose out of their seats following this initial performance and remained standing for the duration of the show. 

Patrons ranged from students to middle-aged adults and many arrived in decades-old merchandise, anticipating a great show from their favorite band.
 The band performed with multiple members, up to eight at a time. It featured the occasional trumpet or cello performance, along with the consistent switching of instruments from front-man Isaac Brock. 

The audience came together following the band's final song to call them back out for an encore, despite small discrepancies throughout the show like equipment problems. The crowd cheered and waited until the tension grew so thick, many chose to rush to the front of the venue. 

The audience’s energy did not grow to this extent until halfway through Termination Dust’s set. Although the band began promptly at 7:30, the audience was sparse for the majority of its performance. 

Brock’s grainy, NPR-sounding voice bounced off the walls through his various monologues. He brought his own brand of humor to the show and demonstrated his ability to play off small issues like a broken speaker. The band’s recognizable sound was amplified by the venue’s acoustics and the audience’s energy. 

Although the performance provided a high energy atmosphere, the audience was restricted to the area around designated seats. The venue couldn’t accommodate the rowdy disposition that has become expected within a rock concert. Many fans could be seen bobbing along to the music or playing air guitar with their friends. 

The performance featured a theatrical light show throughout the set. The crew took advantage of color blocking, contrasting colors and varying degrees of smoke to change the tone through the show. The stage switched between variations of red, blue, yellow, purple and pink, as well as the combination of colors to highlight the band and stage. 

The theatrical performance did not stop at the intricate lighting. The entire ensemble could be seen playing up its performance. Between the multiple percussionists throwing their drumsticks to Brock’s guitar solo played entirely with his tongue, the audience was treated to the visual and audible performance it had anticipated. 

The band performed popular hits like “Lampshades of Fire,” and “Dashboard,” as well as deeper cuts. The concert only brought the energy down once when Modest Mouse performed its song “Strangers to Ourselves,” a ballad that followed a sudden bathe in blue light. This brought audience members back down to their seats to fully appreciate the emotion behind the song. 

Fans cheered throughout the performance, however, the band noticeably left out their most recognizable song “Float On.”

“I think the venue was cool, especially with how they used it, but the fans are something else,” said Jasmine Milliner, a Jamestown Community College student. “I’ve been a fan for a really long time and I enjoyed the show, but I was yelled at for standing up when people were sitting. I sat back down and then everyone else started standing up.”

Stephanie Vigoren, vocalist for Termination Dust, discussed the group’s excitement to tour with Modest Mouse.

“It’s been really great opening for them. We’re really happy to be here,” Vigoren said. “We never expected we would be able to open for such a big group.”

Samantha Vargas is the asst. arts editor and can be reached at and on Twitter @SamVargasArts


 Samantha Vargas is an English/ film studies double major with a minor in media study. She spends her free time finding shows around buffalo and hanging out with her cat.