Modest Mouse, Beach Fossils @ Thebarton Theatre, Adelaide 24/4/2023

Adelaide was definitely in the envious position of having several Daydream Festival, Australia’s brand new indie rock festival, side shows here in particular Modest Mouse and Beach Fossils at Thebarton Theatre. This will go down as one of those shows that you just needed to be at to see indie-rock royalty Modest Mouse play tunes from their much revered back catalogue given they had never played Adelaide before.

American indie rockers Beach Fossils from Brooklyn New York were mighty fine openers. If anyone was going to get excited about what is great about indie-rock it is this band. I had just about given up hope of ever being able to see this much underrated band in Australia let alone little ‘ole Adelaide. Their Spotify playlist had been given a thrashing by me for quite sometime and to see their music played live was something next league awesome. What A Pleasure (2011) and Somersault (2017) are right up there as two of my favourite albums so when they kicked of with Moments and What A Pleasure I was in awe. Forty minutes literally sailed past with their set full of singles including Don’t Fade Away, Down The Line and Daydream. I rate them that highly that if it was economically feasible I’d be on a plane to see the rest of the tour.

Modest Mouse are one of those bands that defy being boxed in to a particular category and labelled in a particular genre but I think it would be accepted by them that they are indie-rock royalty. Australian fans have been treated to quite unique show experiences as they well and truly turn their set lists upside down playing different songs each night so it creates some mystique as to what you are actually going to get. If you are a die hard fan you would have been licking your lips as they chartered every nook and cranny of their back catalogue literally leaving no stone unturned in creating a unique Adelaide show experience. Before the band took the stage it was quite amusing to hear animal noises for a good five minutes or so. Kicking off with Dark Center of the Universe the crowd got going on popular single Dashboard. Front man Isaac Brock is a complex individual and at times would make some random musings leaving one to think what did he mean by that in particular this weird mobile phone story.

The band are tight knit and could really play. Sadly this tour was without founding drummer Jeremiah Green who passed away last year but touring drummer Damon Cox is an absolute gun. If fans were expecting to hear all the singles that definitely wasn’t the case as there plenty of deep cuts which made their set all the more fascinating. Ocean Breathes Salty was killer as was Fuck Your Acid Trip, Fire It Up and Perfect Disguise. With the set list you could probably say that at times things may not have flowed easily but that’s all part of the indie rock charm.

Some other highlights include Bukowski and King Rat. I thought that current album The Golden Casket (2021) might have been more prominent with only Back to the Middle, Lace Your Shoes and Fuck Your Acid Trip to get the nod. Big chart single Float On lifted the roof off the Thebbie finishing Night on the Sun (off the 1999 EP of the same name) and Spitting Venom. Disappearing back stage for the encore break we were starting to wonder if they were going to come back as it was five plus minutes but alas they did! The encore featured some songs that I would never think I’d hear live including Trucker’s Atlas, Gravity Rides Everything and Shit Luck.

It was definitely a rare gem to get to experience and see Modest Mouse and Beach Fossils in Adelaide and with the talk of new music for both bands on the cards lets hope there is a return visit some time soon.

Live Review By Rob Lyon

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