I’m a bit late on posting about the Mountain Goats show we went to the other night. I feel like I’m really late coming to the Mountain Goats party; I’m OK with that, because it’s not hugely important to me to be an early adopter in the music department. I’m content to let other people filter out the duds and shove something great into my hands. With the Mountain Goats, it was (as it often is) Summervillain and Editrix who put a song from The Sunset Tree on their 2005 sampler, and got me hooked.
We got there pretty early, but we did not get the prime front-row photo perch that Terri had hoped for. She still managed some good shots.
Christine Fellows (the opener) was good, but not someone I’m going to seek too much more of, to be honest. She had a lot of personal, songwritery songs. I don’t necessarily have a thing against songs like that, but if they don’t work for you, you end up feeling like you’re supposed to be moved more than you are, and you end up feeling guilty, because this person has really poured their heart into what they’re doing. I can’t deal with that guilt, so I tend to just avoid the whole thing. Anyway, her songs sure did something for John Darnielle, who was peeking through the stage left doors, sitting on the floor, and just utterly rocking out during much of her set.
If you know their stuff, if you’ve seen them live, if you’ve read about their shows, you have a pretty good idea of what they’re like live. John Darnielle makes a lot of really goofy faces, and really looks like sort of a cartoon character. Peter Hughes is a really good bass player; he kept to the background without being wallpaper (e.g. he talked).
They probably only played 3 songs from the new album (“Wild Sage”, “New Monster Avenue”, “Half Dead”), more than I expected from The Sunset Tree (“This Year”, “Broom People”, “Song for Dennis Brown”, “Love Love Love”, “Dance Music”), none from We Shall All Be Healed, a couple from Talahassee (“No Children” and something I don’t remember), a few I didn’t really recognize, and one from All Hail West Texas (“color in your cheeks”).
The inevitable bandana guy was denied his repeated and loud requests for “Up The Wolves”.
Everybody else at the show was 18. How do 18 year olds get so bitter that the Mountain Goats resonate? Nevermind. I’m not that old yet. I remember. But, damn, if it wasn’t unsettling to hear 600 kids merrily singing along “I hope that you die! I hope we both die!”. It really did feel like a sing-a-long at times.
I forget which of the previously mentioned songs were the first encore, but he played “Going to Georgia” as a second encore.
Yes, a second encore, folks. The lights had come up, and the “go away now” music had started, but he came out, and everybody started cheering, so he picked up his guitar, and said that he’d only come out to retrieve his notebook, because he knew someone would steal it (bandana guy: “I totally would have!”; John Darnielle, justified: “see, he’s admitting it!”), and then felt it would be unfair to make an appearance back onstage without playing something.