Modest Mouse wrapped a 10-shows-in-13-days U.S. tour last night (Nov. 18) at New York’s intimate Bowery Ballroom, offering up four songs from its upcoming Epic album, “We Were Dead Before the Ship Even Sank,” including the intended first single, “Dashboard,” which closed the main set.
The evening began with a comedy surprise from funnyman David Cross, who delivered a spot-on parody of the “One Bank” song that has become an Internet sensation in the past week. In the original, a Bank of America employee earnestly transforms U2’s “One” into a corporate theme song. Sporting a bushy beard, Cross even dressed the part in a white button-down and ugly yellow necktie, while Modest Mouse guitarist Johnny Marr strummed out the familiar chords.
Besides “Dashboard,” a Talking Heads-style slice of funk-infused rock, two other uptempo new songs were played early in the set: “Fire It Up” and “We’ve Got Everything,” the latter of which features backing vocals from the Shins’ James Mercer on its studio version. The new album’s “Missed the Boat” (sample lyric: “Our ideas held no water but we used them like a dam”) was also performed prior to an epic version of “Tiny Cities Made of Ashes,” on which the band employed two bass players.
Marr, in his first tour as a full-time member of Modest Mouse, seemed content to add his sonic textures out of the spotlight, yielding lead guitar to frontman Issac Brock on most songs. The set list was rounded out by older favorites such as “Dramamine,” “Trailer Trash,” “Paper Thin Walls,” “Breakthrough,” “Bukowski” and a surprisingly funky “Do the Cockroach,” which Brock said the band was trying to play in the style of DJ Quik or Eazy-E.
Modest Mouse will continue on for a London show Tuesday, followed by appearances Dec. 30-31 at the Falls Festival in Australia. “We Were Dead Before the Ship Even Sank” will follow during the first quarter of 2007.