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A modest proposal 

Modest Mouse makes a chapstick lesbian's high school dreams come true

It’s April 17, and I’m sitting in my car, touching up the only make-up a chapstick lesbian like myself needs (mascara and a couple of uneven eye pencil lines). I take a look in the car’s rearview mirror and come to the horrifying conclusion that after an hour without brushing my hair, it has become one glorious, thick dreadlock. I try desperately to separate the dread while my girlfriend Aileen, who is much more stylish than myself, digs through an entire carry-on sized bag of cosmetics, slaps on a couple of shades of eye shadow, and looks like she left the runway just in time for the concert we’re about to head into. I consider throwing a paper bag over this whole situation and calling it a day.

click to enlarge ANYTHING BUT MOUSY :  Modest Mouse brought joy and impromptu, awkward mosh pits to dedicated SLO fans on April 17. - PHOTO BY MAEVA CONSIDINE
  • PHOTO BY MAEVA CONSIDINE
  • ANYTHING BUT MOUSY : Modest Mouse brought joy and impromptu, awkward mosh pits to dedicated SLO fans on April 17.

“I’m going to go check on the media pass,” I tell her as I nervously eye the line forming around the Madonna Expo Center.

I duck out just in time to run into one of my all-time favorite SLO locals, Grace Miller, the events and promotions coordinator at SLO Brew, who is walking around the venue, spreading her mellow vibe with every step like some sort of anti-anxiety carbon monoxide (does that even makes sense? I don’t know, I’m still thinking about that awful dread situation and how many people I know witnessed it).

“Maeva, what’s up?!”

Grace is the type of person who can remain present with you while also thinking about 3,067 different things.

I tell her that I’m looking to score the photo pass I arranged earlier in the day, and she leads me to a check-in table where they promptly supply me with a little yellow triangle that will make me the envy of drooling Modest Mouse fans for the rest of the night. Truthfully, I’m cripplingly nervous about this level of access, knowing myself well enough to know that if you put me next to a bunch of electrical equipment, I’m likely to cause a blackout.

I walk back to the car to retrieve my nerves and Aileen, who is anxious to see one of her favorite bands up close, without having to travel 85 miles to the nearest bowl or Fox Theatre.

I’m relieved to see we won’t have to wait in line to enter the Expo Center, and enraptured to see that we won’t even have to wait for beer. This is already the best night ever. We mosey up to the 21-and-older wristband line (where the men are separated from the sober) to gear up for the liquid courage I’ll need to throw myself into the pit, mere feet away from a band I worshipped in college.

My eyeballs nearly pop out of my head when I see that beers are cheaper than $7. I also realize this is about to get potentially dangerous.

“Contain yourself Considine, it’s just cheap beer,” I mumble under my breath.

Then I order four beers.

Aileen and I make it to the front row to secure the best seats in the house. The opening act gets some pretty good traction with the crowd, but neither of us can wait for Modest Mouse to grace the stage.

The crowd around us is the perfect mix of easygoing twentysomethings and older music aficionados who appreciate and understand simple concert etiquette. When I feel I’ve built up enough of a kinship with the folks immediately surrounding us, I duck into the pit to grab some photos—just as lead singer Isaac Brock appears and everyone goes nuts. The energy shifts and Modest Mouse proceeds to, pardon my lack of coolness here, rock the house.

I hang in the pit for my allotted three songs, snapping photos and making friends with another photographer.

When it’s time for me to go, I can see that the crowd has turned and a bunch of braces-wearing teenagers have fought their way to the front and formed an impromptu mosh pit. At a Modest
Mouse show.

Folks, here’s a pro-tip from someone who has seen Modest Mouse—as well as plenty of other indie rock acts—live before: A. Don’t start a mosh pit if you can’t finish a mosh pit. B. Modest Mouse is not mosh pit music.

After getting angry and thrown around for a bit, we make our way to the back of the expo center to finish our beers and enjoy the show with all of our kidneys still intact.

The rest of the concert is a blast, and we dance the awkward dance of white people until the house lights come up, grateful that SLO Brew has heard the call of indie-rock fans throughout San Luis Obispo and has started to bring the big-name talent this town so desperately wants.

As we head outside, I nod in the direction of the night sky, thanking the hipster gods for such a great night, and I send a silent prayer up that SLO Brew will forever prosper and continue to hire good people with great taste in music.

Calendar Editor Maeva Considine is a hipster with big dreams. Send her your music recommendations to mconsidine@newtimesslo.com.

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