Originally when I got to Chicago, I was worried my family and I would only see the “tourist-y” spots like we always do — fill the family photo album but never really experience the culture of the environment we’re on. Personally, I see our vacations as anthroplogical experiments. No one likes feeling like a tourist and I am no exception, so I try to find little slices of real life to entertain me. Normally, this consists of exploring the lesser knowns areas of the city we’re in (like we did in Boston), but when the opportunity to see Modest Mouse in concert arose, I knew that it would blow all past adventures away.
I love concerts. Live music is probably one of my favorite pasttimes actually. Just the way the lights and sounds blend sends me to another dimension, where I can fully open my mind to the endless possibilities life has to offer. It’s an auditory pilgrimage where I can truly relax and melt into soundwaves, flowing freely down an aqueduct.
Across the street from the Red “El” train in windy Chicago lay the majestic Aragon Ballroom, a true tower of the arts. This behemoth of a building has seen such greats from Frank Sinatra to Kings of Leon, but most importantly, on August twenty-fifth of this past year, it housed Modest Mouse, an indie space rock band from Washington that’s been gracing the musical world since ninety-three.
When I entered the Aragon theater, even the paint on the walls was right. The “Men’s Lounge” bathroom completed my image of this place, as the perfect venue. A collaboration of relaxation and excitement filled the air, supplying my lungs with the excitement they needed. Not only was this my first night out in Chicago, but it was also my first concert out of the tri-state area. I had expected the other concertgoers to be rare, exotic people in this unfamiliar time zone, but I was surprised to see the similarity to people I already knew. I was taken aback by the universal effect music has on people and its calming effect that simply brings them together.
When at last the band began, I had already sweat through my shirt, affected by the elements within the theater. A thick cloud of humidity surrounded all of us in the enclosed space, but it didn’t matter; I had never felt such euphoria. Modest Mouse is normally known for their wide array of instruments used, so I knew they’d have a lot planned, but even that was beyond an underestimate. They pulled out banjos and trumpets, and created such a melody that I could have closed my eyes and flown into it if I saw fit. The entire set was trance-like, complete with an enthusiastic crowd, and me singing along, mouthing every word.
To describe it in a word, the night was divine. The aura that existed within the theater was nothing short of magical and I’ve never felt more limitless in my life. Concerts aside, the experience of having sound bounce at you from every angle was a new one, and it was perhaps the architecture of this little place that had perhaps perfected it all. Modest Mouse, a bunch of modest musicians to be totally honest, were completely in control of every waking moment, all thanks to the power of this extravagant ballroom. I will never forget the way the walls danced along to every note.
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