Modest Mouse delivers two-mile bass

When calling the police won't work.

A couple of minutes ago, as I sat at my computer in my home office--windows closed against the sudden fall weather--I was roused by the telltale rumble of rock music coming from somewhere nearby. I live in a pretty boring neighborhood, and the summer party season seemed to be over, so I chalked it up to the bar a few blocks away, although I usually don't hear music coming from there until closing time. It was only 10:15 p.m.

I walked outside and listened, trying to identify the song. The bass and kick drum were clear, and occasionally I heard a higher-pitched noise that could have been a guitar or keyboard. Then it stopped for a few seconds and a different bassline came on. I immediately recognized Modest Mouse's "Tiny Cities Made of Ashes" (listen and you'll understand how).

I'm near the red pin in the upper-right corner of this map. Two miles away, Eric Judy is playing bass near the pin in the lower-left corner. I can hear it.

It's not a neighbor, or the bar down the street. Modest Mouse is currently closing out Bumbershoot, Seattle's annual three-day music festival, at an outdoor arena called Memorial Stadium, which is located about two miles away (according to Bing maps) with two large hills and a lake in between.

I haven't heard any other music from that far away--certainly nothing else from this year--since Wu Tang closed the festival two years ago, and that wasn't nearly as clear as these Modest Mouse songs. It must be a trick of the acoustics, or maybe the limiter on the soundboard is broken. Whatever the reason, Modest Mouse bassist Eric Judy is currently sending very long sound waves into hundreds of thousands of people in Seattle. Makes you long for a better stereo system, doesn't it?

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