Dec 6, 2008

The Mountain Goats @ Manning Bar

They're back. A resplendent, vociferous, ecstatic troupe of performers. A triumph of song and songs, a crystal clear example of why music matters. Especially their music. The music of John. John was unwell, so an April tour was postponed. Now, they are back. Friday night at the Manning Bar was the return of The Mountain Goats. In full triumph. So, we are/were grateful. For their shows are something to hold and treasure. Full of guts and glory, humour and pathos. Respect Oh Goated ones. Much respect.

My 2007 experience (first time) at the Metro was a singular moment. An undeniably happy, joyous time. So, to see them again was much anticipated. I am happy to report that the night was a great success. Although, maybe not quite the night that I witnessed in 2007. This set was slightly shorter and perhaps lacked a couple of the anthemic numbers from the previous show. John Darnielle was also suffering from jetlag. Although his energy level was still very high, maybe at 98% level. He still managed to squeeze the life out of every number, his face straining and grimacing as he sang with full heart and force. He truly is a unique performer. So generous, so intelligent, so gracious, so everything. He loves his time on stage, truly engaging and engaged.
The music. Naturally it leant heavily on the new album "Heretic Pride". Seven numbers in all from the new release and they all translated well live. Especially with the addition of a drummer in Jon Wurster. Wurster was great, pounding the rhythms out with great dexterity. I wonder if the addition of a drummer concerns long time fans. You know, acoustic to rock so to speak. I, for one, was certainly an advocate for the expanded sound. "Heretic Pride" was a definite highlight, as was the closing section where John exchanged his acoustic for an electric. "San Bernadino" was delicate and exquisite, whilst "Lovecraft in Brooklyn" fully stormed the stage. A great closing number.

Of course, this band has such a huge repertoire that any show becomes a guessing game as to what songs will be pulled out. To such, you can't really be disappointed. So, even though "No Children" was not played we heard a slower tempo (and lovely) version of "Dance Music", a beautifully rendered version of "Hast Thou Considered The Tetrapod" (probably the night's highlight) and a storming "This Year" to finish the night off. Also appreciated was the seldom played and thumping "Lion's Teeth". Only minor quibble was a short two song encore, leaving us wanting much more. But Mr Darnielle can definitely be forgiven. Who can be upset with such a gregarious host? Not me, ever. Stories and songs, timeless. Appreciated.

Set List
Michael Myers Resplendent
Heretic Pride
Pigs That Ran Straightaway Into The Water, Triumph Of
Hast Thou Considered The Tetrapod
New Zion
Dance Music
Sign of the Crow
Dinu Lipatti's Bones
You Or Your Memory
Have To Explode
Lion's Teeth
In The Craters Of The Moon
San Bernardino
Sept 15, 1983
Lovecraft In Brooklyn

Wild Sage
This Year

Support act was a surprise choice. Baseball. Maybe not a natural match. But this band is a law unto themselves. A true original. Australia's best act. They take your heart, pull it out of your chest, then shove it back down with feathers attached. See. This. Band.


  • At December 06, 2008 , Anonymous Anonymous said...

    great night. was also a bit upset that the encore was so short and at the absence of no children and the best ever death metal band in denton. i saw you there btw, sweet wolf parade shirt.

  • At December 06, 2008 , Anonymous Anonymous said...

    I must've been standing right near you, judging from where your photos were taken from.

    Oh, wait- reading the other comment. You were the dude in the Wolf Parade shirt? I saw you, then.

  • At December 07, 2008 , Blogger Malachi Von Riga said...

    Newcastle show was really enjoyable but for poor levels by sound guy letting the vocals get swamped by the drun. This did not get corrected through the show and in two from three songs lyrics were inaudible.

    Can't agree with you on the support act. A compitant band that needs a new front man.

  • At December 09, 2008 , Anonymous Anonymous said...

    Oh wow, Pigs That Ran...!! What I wouldn't give to hear that live.

    Deathly excited to see what they pull out in Perth tonight :)

    Thanks for a great review.


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