Modest Mouse @ The Masonic, San Francisco, 09.26.14


Indie rock stalwarts Modest Mouse have been relatively quiet in the last few years, with only an EP and a couple new live songs since their last full length, 2007’s We Were Dead Before the Ship Even Sank. So it was a pleasant surprise when they announced a run of tour dates this year. Though they began as a trio (with original bassist Eric Judy departing in 2012), the band has swelled to include a second drummer, guitar player, violinist, and a couple of horns.

Modest Mouse are rumored to be working–slowly–on a new record, but the setlist at The Masonic only included three new songs, “Lampshades on Fire,” “Sugar Boats,” and “Shit in Your Cut.” The latter was part of a “shit”-heavy encore that also included “Shit Luck” and “Talking Shit About Pretty Sunset.” The rest of the 20+ song set was filled out by a healthy mix of singles, deep cuts, and b-sides. The highlight, as it is at pretty much every Modest Mouse show, was the incendiary “Doin’ the Cockroach.”

Modest Mouse have been around for 20 years now, and maybe Isaac Brock can’t hit all the high notes anymore, but he doesn’t seem to have lost any energy, enthusiasm, or 90s haircuts. And if you woke up this morning and decided you desperately needed to see almost 50 new Modest Mouse live photos, hey, it’s your lucky day!

PAWS/Total Slacker @ Rickshaw Stop, 09.24.14


A mid-week triple bill of Florida’s Flashlights, Scotland’s PAWS, and Brooklyn’s Total Slacker at San Francisco’s Rickshaw Stop was sparsely attended, but that just left more rock per capita for the rest of us. PAWS continue their ascent as an insanely catchy and fun band, mixing catching tunes, punk energy, and Scottish charm. All three bands sounded distinctly 90s, in the best way possible, and the relatively unknown Flashlights did their best channeling the sound and energy of early Superchunk.




Beck @ The Masonic in San Francisco, 9.19.14


Beck opened up the newly-renovated Masonic Temple in San Francisco on September 19th. With the seats removed from the floor and turned into a standing room GA section, the venue looks and sounds great. If nothing else, it was easily the cleanest venue floor I’ve ever seen.

With no opener (which was a major relief) Beck told the audience they’d be their own openers, and started the show with an acoustic, “Pensive Beck” set. He kicked off the show with “The Golden Age” from 2002’s Sea Change (along with the standout from the record, “Lost Cause”), and continued with a good helping of songs from the most recent Pensive Beck album, Morning Phase. After the acoustic set, he broke into some career-spanning greatest hits, including “Loser,” “Devil’s Haircut,” “Black Tambourine,” and “Where It’s At.”

CHVRCHES @ Fox Theater in Oakland, CA, 09.18.14


Big day for the Scottish on Thursday, September 18, 2014. The Scottish Independence Referendum failed to pass, meaning the Scots will stay in the UK and the Union Jack can continue to exist unmolested. For Bay Area residents, it was also the day that Scottish trio CHVRCHES finally returned to northern California, after their scheduled Outside Lands performance in August was scratched due to problems at the Vancouver airport (See, leaving the British Commonwealth doesn’t fix all your problems!).

So instead of an abbreviated set in a large outdoor setting, CHVRCHES fans who missed them at Outside Lands (as well as fans that didn’t want to navigate Outside Lands) got to see them in the beautiful Fox Theater in Oakland. Here’s to continued border crossing issues for bands playing festivals!