Modest Mouse - The US Open Of Surfing - July 26, 2013
US Open of Surfing
This year's US Open of Surfing's musical event day number two was as crazy and chaotic as always, prompting the drunkest, sun burnt, and heat exhausted audience members to turn it into the US Open of Crowd Surfing. Indie musicians Modest Mouse headlined this year's US Open in Huntington Beach with local musician Matt Costa opening up the show.
For an action sports event based on surfing, it's odd how the real highlight for a lot of people is the music. However, it becomes obvious when you hear who the past year's artists have been, that the free concerts are a highlight for the annual event. Last year's headliners Best Coast and Grouplove--who were in heavy rotation on many radio stations at the time with their single "Tongue Tied"--attracted droves to the HB Pier. Two years before that, you had Weezer and MGMT headlining.
The sky filled with dust from a sandstorm caused by the endless sea of moving people dragging their feet and squashing together to get closer to the stage. In the mix of airborne particles, there was also larger objects like water bottles, shoes, Frisbees, flip-flops, towels, beach balls, and t-shirts being thrown in every direction. No matter where you were, the scene was chaos. One minute you are helping a crowd surfer, the next you know you are being bombarded by something thrown from hundreds of feet away. Standing on the 4ft x 4ft plot directly in the middle of the crowd, designated for cameras is where I was.
Matt Costa opened the show playing his signature brand of singer-songwriter indie rock. Throughout his set, you could feel the crowd growing more and more anxious for the headliner. Between chants from patriotic crowd members yelling "U-S-A! U-S-A!" other chants of "Modest Mouse" were being yelled. Hoping the opening band could run through their set a little faster is one thing, but only at the OC bro-filled, free outdoors concert like "The Open" will fans be that vocal about their impatience.
Finally, after a delayed setup time, pointless babbling from an announcer, and some onstage interviews with competing surfers and the day before's opening act FMLYBND did the headliner come out. Modest Mouse came out swinging with two older songs the true fans would enjoy. The band strayed away from the crowd pleaser songs and stuck to a set of unrecorded new songs, older songs, and a few deep cuts.