Modest Mouse

Baron Von Bullshit Rides Again

(Epic; 2004)

By Joe Frankland | 20 November 2007

The way I see it, live bootlegs have always served two functions. First, you can hear how well a band performs live, so that you know whether or not it’s worth the money to go to their show. Second, if you’re a hardcore fan, you can sometimes get one or two songs that aren’t on any other albums. Baron Von Bullshit Rides Again falls into the first category. There’s nothing outstandingly new here, just good familiar songs played live at The Social in Orlando, Florida on February 14th & 15th of 2004. Some of the songs have a few new things to offer; some variations in guitar effect usage, different melodies, and of course, a little improv. But even with only slight changes, it’s always interesting to hear how a song has changed since the band decided that it was good enough to release on whatever album it originally came from.

It’s also interesting to hear what the band has to say about any drunken hecklers. After “Paper Thin Walls,” some guy yells “Freebird!” Brock goes on a two-minute tirade about why they won’t play the song. At the end of all of this, an irritated Brock admits (and I tend to agree with him, incidentally) that, “Life is too fucking short to play or hear 'Freebird.'” “I Came As A Rat” comes in at the perfect comedic moment.

At The Social, Modest Mouse plays songs from a big chunk of their catalog rather than just the last few albums. There are a couple of songs from The Lonesome Crowded West, one from The Moon & Antarctica, one from Good News For People Who Love Bad News, two from Building Nothing Out Of Something, and some B-sides and rarities. I don’t know if this is testament to what they’ll actually play at a real show, but I should hope so, especially since the next time I’ll get a chance to see Modest Mouse will be at Lollapalooza ‘04, and I will have heard Good News a few too many times to really care about hearing it all played live by that point.

If you’re wondering why you haven’t seen Baron Von Bullshit Rides Again in any stores (unless you found a scarce used copy), it’s because you can only get it directly from the band by going to www.modestmousebootlegs.com. Even if you’re not too far into Modest Mouse, Baron Von Bullshit Rides Again is well worth checking out if you want a live experience. However, if you’re totally unfamiliar with Modest Mouse, I suggest Moon & Antarctica as a better starting point.