Tuesday, April 7, 2009

The Mountain Goats--Buskirk-Chumley Theater, Bloomington, Indiana

Monday night I saw The Tallest Man on Earth, John Vanderslice, and the Mountain Goats. It was tight.

We missed most of The Tallest Man on Earth, which sucked (since when do concerts start on time?), but the three songs we caught were great. He voice is strong and clear, but I learned that The Tallest Man on Earth is most certainly not: he's tiny, as high as my shoulder, so 5'5" maybe 5'7" which I guess is "average" but it's relative because I'm huge.

John Vanderslice. I wasn't expecting much out of John Vanderslice because I'm not that familiar with him (although he did play "Trance Manual," from his album Pixel Revolt, which I haven't listened to since roundabout '06, and which is one of two songs of his I possibly would've ever recognized), but he was fantastic. Good songs, funny stories, generous stage persona. A nerd king among nerds, Vanderslizzle accomplished the astonishing: he made me want to listen to more of his music. And I gather that Vizzleslizzle is decently popular--a goodly number of the audience were singing/mouthing along with his songs.

Now the Mountain Goats, my reason for going. Stunning, courageous, engaging, confident, and hilarious are just a small number of ways in which I might encapsulate John Darnielle (pronounced, come to find out, dar-kneel, not darn-yell) and his character. Darnielle's high-nasal voice^ pierces my chest like a saber--one of few that does--because it's completely affectless, just like his songs--which Monday included "Dance Music," "Love Love Love," "Woke Up New," "Autoclave," "No Children" ("a song about hope"), the obscure "Ox Baker Triumphant," the unreleased "Cutter," and a few songs from a forthcoming EP**, along with a slew of others from his vast and unknowable canon. But the songs he played don't matter so much as how he played them: intensely, intently, true, prefaced with long, rambling-yet-germane stories relating to inspiration/provenance which displayed Darnielle's fierce intelligence and keen memory. To try to recap the show with more specificity would be futile and would not do it any justice, so I won't/can't even try, except to say that Darnielle/Mountain Goats now sit near the top of my "people to see in concert at any/every opportunity" list. Just awesome.

^To anyone who views Darneille's voice as an impediment, I say get past it. Instead of letting him be "one more alt hero," turn him into "some kind of new Dylan." This guy deserves much more than a "far-flung cult."
**Darnielle and Vanderslice will release this year a concept EP entitled Moon Colony Bloodbath, about a secret government-sponsored organ-harvesting program . . . on the moon. There is no way this could be bad.

--Brian Herrmann

7 comments:

Audrey said...

I'm OK with "far-flung cult" or "one more alt hero" I saw him at Portage Theater last week and it just didn't quite do it for me, though the crowd absolutely loved Mr. Goat. Yes, it's probably the voice.

Brian said...

GET PAST IT AUDREY WEN!

Alex said...

I also had no idea that is how you pronounced his last name. I always went with Darn-yell.

How many people did he have with him? Just the bass dude?

Audrey said...

You did your glowing review a disservice by responding to your inner voice of dissent. Had you not said anything, I probably would have kept mum.

Brian said...

Alex, it was just him. Vanderslice said the name of the tour was "Stripped Bare" or some such, so Tallest Man, JV, and Mtn Goats all played just them and their guitar.

Jenifer said...

I agree with everything you said ..


--
Jenifer
Are you scared to be alone at home need security

Jenifer said...

I agree with everything you said ..


--
Jenifer
Are you scared to be alone at home need security

 
eXTReMe Tracker