The last time I went to The Masonic was on New Years Eve for the Comedy Countdown show. The ground floor had rows of seats leading up to the awkwardly large round stage at the center. Now it has been renovated into one of the best venues in San Francisco to experience live music. The seats have been removed and replaced with tiered viewing areas while the stage takes on a normal rectangular shape. There wasn’t a bad view, which made it optimal to be immersed in the live performances of Mimicking Birds and Modest Mouse.
Mimicking Birds had a calm and relaxed presence. From simple rhythmic drums to fingerpicked guitar strings, their sound makes you want to stargaze and dream about the universe. Adding the synths and atmospheric guitar to lead singer/guitarist Nate Lacey’s eerie trembling whisper creates a cosmic musical landscape. However, songs like “Burning Stars” and “Memorabilia” kept the audience grounded with fun guitar hooks and melodies accompanied by an upbeat rhythm. This dynamic is thoughtfully explored in the Mimicking Birds newest album Eons. Balancing the dreamy whimsical sound with Lacey’s timid vocals and acoustic guitar encompasses their unique approach to music that will continue to gain more popularity.
The excitement surrounding Friday’s show was also attributed to indie rock’s finest: Modest Mouse. After a tranquil opening set with Mimicking Birds, Issac Brock and his crew punched everyone in the face with their opening songs. I almost forgot what to expect when going to a Modest Mouse show. They have classic songs like “Doin’ The Cockroach” and “Dark Center of the Universe” that will get your blood pumping and make you consider joining the mini mosh pit. One of the highlights of the night was when the horns came out for “This Devil’s Workday,” which seems like a weird song to perform live, but it turned out to be amazing. A beautiful violinist accompanied lead singer Issac Brock’s bipolar guitar playing and vocals. One minute he’s gently singing with his charming lisp and the next he’s yelling at the top of his lungs. I noticed they played a few songs I have never heard before. Since 2009, Modest Mouse hasn’t released any new material, which makes me believe something is coming in the near future.
WATCH: Pitchfork.tv presents a 45-minute documentary on Modest Mouse’s classic 1997 album The Lonesome Crowded West: