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Monday, March 24, 2008

Mountain Goats

I saw the Mountain Goats on Saturday night at the Black Cat. It was a great, great show. Not having any of his recent albums, he/they didn't play a single song I have in my collection. But it was cool hearing all the narratives for the first time, straight out of John Darnielle's mouth. He has a great (geeky, but not the normal geeky) stage presence, and his between-song banter is excellent. The show was also much more rocking than I would have anticipated. (Furthermore, I enjoyed the opener, The Moaners, and bought their album, which is also good. For some reason I get a lot of satisfaction from enjoying an opening band and getting their CD on the spot. I guess maybe it feels more real than hearing some band's mp3 on a blog.)

Darnielle is apparently facing some sort of serious health problem, and has had to cancel the remainder of the tour. He made reference to it a number of times during the show, and was wistful and obviously enjoying his last time on stage for a while. An exchange that took place near the end of the set:

JD: [some reference to Easter/Jesus, I think]

Loud Guy in the Back: F*** Christ!

Rest of Audience: [murmur murmur disapproval amusement]

JD: Well, it's funny. [slight audience laugh...paraphrasing now] When you're looking at a health problem that could screw you up for the rest of your life, it gets pretty hard to hold onto your atheism.

Whatever illness John Darnielle is dealing with, I and many others wish him the best.

UPDATE, 4/5: I heard some news (okay, gossip) about this today from the presumably-well-informed owner of my local record shop.


Matthew said...

It's wonderful that you got to see the Mountain Goats live. He lives in Durham now, but we've only seen him play once and it was great. The songs really come to life when he's there in person. If you want to get one of his newer (studio) records, I like The Sunset Tree the best.

teague said...

I agree that the songs really do come to life in person. The dude at my local record shop said that The Sunset Tree is the one that always sells out, so it sounds like you're not the only one who likes it. I should check it out...