Live New Orleans

Jon Spencer Blues Explosion and Modest Mouse

Contemporary Arts Center

February 23, 2001

I had heard of Modest Mouse, but that was about it. I didn't expect to enjoy them, as they were the opening band, but I did. They rocked, in that indie, held back sorta way. They were quirky, which I thought was cool. This was before people actually started to hear about them in 2004.

The hangar behind the CAC was packed, and Jon Spencer took full advantage. He attacked the stage with his half Elvis/half James Brown/half Gospel preacher persona(we're operating on 1 1/2 today), which is a funny sham. Calling his band's rock/slow thrash music a "blues explosion"—if that's a con, then it's well done. Spencer took control of the audience, going off on rants, addressing them as "ladies and gentlemen," and looking beat down, which sorta added to the authenticity of his howling, desperate pleas. The music rocked, as expected, and I wanted to jump out of my skin. It was no con—I wanted to throw my hands up in the air and praise God. Man, the energy of the rollicking, raw music. Guitarist Judah Bauer is under-appreciated and unheralded in the music press. He was the backbone of the band. And then there's drum-basher Russell Simmons, who played behind the beat to make the music nastier.

Great concert. I need to see both of these bands again.

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