November 20, 2007
I saw The Mountain Goats two years ago at the Pitchfork Music Festival and they put on a fantastic show full of crowd favorites and sing-a-logs, intertwined with John Darnielle’s storytelling and his charismatic stage presence. Last week’s show at the Canopy Club showed a much different picture of the band, opting to play mostly deep cuts from their ever-expansive catalog and showcasing some new tracks. This isn’t to say I didn’t enjoy ever second of it, but I think everyone expected him to play “Cubs in Five”, “No Children”, and “The Best Ever Heavy Metal Band in Denton” and none of those made an appearance. In fact only one song off my favorite Mountain Goats album, Tallahasee, was played, the stormy “See America Right”.
Out of the songs we did hear the highlights were certainly the songs from The Sunset Tree. The band played a new, introspective version of “Dance Music” and “Love Love Love”, a personal favorite of mine, and closed the first set with “You and Your Memory” and the exuberant, crowd participatory “This Year”. Surprisingly, none of the singles from Get Lonely were played, but “Moon Over Goldsboro” and “Maybe Sprout Wings” finely displayed the beautiful mellow side to the band as did “Mole” from We Shall Be Healed. Out of the new songs, the one that Darnielle wrote in Alaska about never leaving your room was by far the most memorable. It was a return to the upbeat, witty songs for the band and featured an awesome drum solo.
Perhaps the biggest surprise from the evening was when the band pulled out “Soft Targets” which Darnielle prefaced by talking about how it was so rare that he had to aquire a copy of it for himself on ebay. The song was wonderful and much of the crowd knew all the words, a testament to the band’s hardcore following. Darnielle was overly modest on stage in his interactions with the crowd, especially in the way he overly thanked everyone after a song.
The only hint of his charismatic nature that I had seen earlier was during the encore song, “Best Houseguest”, where he playfully sang each verse of the song (with lyrics like “I’ve done things in your room you’d be ashamed to accuse me of”) to one of the audience members. While I doubt anyone left the show completely disappointed, the band still left me wanting more. I’m sure when The Mountain Goats stop by again, I’ll be there front and center.
Go to Pictures For Kids Who Can’t Read Good to see all of my shots from the night.
Tags: The Mountain Goats