Modest Mouse
Criminal Records
Atlanta, GA

Criss-crossing America in September 2001 were two stars of indie rock: one on its way up (Modest Mouse in support of Moon & Antarctica) and one comfortably assuming the role of instution (Built to Spill). For two days of their tours, they both just so happened to be in Atlanta, and instead of competing with one another’s shows they booked a double bill set at Variety Playhouse, with each band assuming headline duties once over the course of the two nights. I was one unlucky sap: the shows were way sold out before I caught wind of them. So instead, I managed to catch the closest thing, this brief set by Modest Mouse before one of the shows.

Criminal Records in the Little Five Points area of Atlanta has a history of putting on good brief shows, including a well documented early Pavement gig, from the old store’s location, later featured in the Slow Century DVD documentary. Those shows tended to overwhelm the small sidewalk only about a block up from the Variety Playhouse. Their newer digs were immediately next to the Junkman’s Daugther (a former grocery store which sold Atlanta’s youngsters the threads required to immediately become cool) and shows took place outside in the parking lot, against the much louder Moreland Avenue. The good folks in Modest Mouse found the irony in Junkman’s Daughter’s dictum and donned wigs, ridiculous faux 70s garb, and as I recall a gorilla mask on the drummer, for this brief show, powered only by a small PA. The sound quality isn’t the best, but it is what it is, and at the time, the truck noise was favorable to the rather loud crowd chatter.

1. Intro/Warmup
2. Paper Thin Walls
3. Third Planet
4. Trailer Trash
5. Lives
6. Diggin Holes in the Water
7. I Came as a Rat

Sample: [audio:|titles=Paper Thin Walls (Live)|artists=Modest Mouse]

Download: Modest Mouse – Atlanta, GA – 9/26/01 – 109 MB

Picture provided by criminal_aurora.


  1. My biggest complaint about MM live is that they take 3 minute long catchy songs and stretch them out to nine minute long noodlefests. Nice to see that they don’t do that on this recording! Thanks for posting it!

  2. I remember those shows with Modest Mouse/Built to Spill at the Variety, but I thought those bands were on the wane even back then. I guess I was wrong. Criminal Records has now moved a third time to the center of Little Five Points to become the Amoeba of Atlanta and has a full stage/performance area inside the store for proper “in-stores”, although seeing Spirituallized in the middle of the day in a parking lot looking like complete zombies was a sight to behold.

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