When I heard that the Mountain Goats were playing three nights in a row at Bowery Ballroom, I considered buying tickets for every concert. They are one of my favorite bands (I can call them a band now, I think, since John Darnielle has been touring and recording for a while now with Peter Hughes and Jon Wurster), but I convinced myself that would be crazy and frivolous. I now regret it, because when the Mountain Goats ended their set last Tuesday it seemed all too soon. I think this was my…fifth Mountain Goats show? I’m not exactly sure, but I’ve only seen them in Norman, Oklahoma, and New York. Basically, with 20 people or with 500. (Actually, I last saw John Darnielle play at the Planned Parenthood Rally, which was thousands.) However, as their music has gotten more noisy, more full, less like the one-man cassette recordings that Darnielle made when he started, the bigger venues like Bowery Ballroom are perfect. Not that some of those delicate songs don’t still make appearances, but there are much fewer “you could hear a pin drop” moments and more driven bass lines playing with tattoos of sharp drumming. Luckily, the wonderful banter and storytelling remains, both in and out of the songs.
If you haven’t heard their new album, All Eternals Deck, it is worth buying. And I very rarely buy albums anymore. How could I not, though, with tracks like “For Charles Bronson” and “Damn These Vampires”? They played quite a few songs from the album, and also older songs that I’ve obsessed over like “Home Again Garden Grove.” I distinctly remember playing that song on repeat one day last summer. Please see the pouding live version below:
Did I mention the fantastic opener Megafaun? They were incredibly entertaining and talented, sounding something like I imagine folksy hippies in Oregon playing at a summer festival to sound. I’ve never actually been to Oregon, so basically this is an idealistic stereotype. Hey, you all do it to Oklahoma! Wait, even better, after internet searching it turns out they are from Wisconsin!
Want to hear the whole concert? The invaluable nyctaper was there!