24 September 2007

The Mountain Goats @ North Star Bar, Philadephia, PA 9/22/07

The Mountain Goats looked as good as they sounded last Saturday during their show at Philadelphia's intimate North Star Bar. John Darnielle and Peter Hughes appeared ultra-dapper, dressed in their finest suits. As amazing as they looked, however not even Peter's spiffy Etro vest could distract the audience from the music -a set of 18 career-spanning tunes, including "In the Craters on the Moon" and "September 15, 1983" which are set to appear on the band's new album due for an early 2008 release.

Of course the physical setlist (see photo below) itself was barely of relevance, as JD himself expressed out-right disdain for it. Several songs listed were impromptu-ly swapped for others -"Up the Wolves", "Jenny" and "Southwood Plantation Road" among them. (When you have to decide from a body of work that encompasses 15 years and 500 songs, can you really blame the guy?) In typical tMG fashion, there were the sing-along classics such as "This Year" and "Cubs in Five". Of course they rocked, but they also served a greater purpose which is to say they highlight the quieter numbers' haunting and hypnotic nature when schizophrenically juxtaposed with them. The arresting "Shadow Song" nearly had John speaking in tongues. The crowd was united in awe and reverence. Based on the experiences of June and myself, I am essentially convinced tMG fans are the antithesis of Bright Eyes fans. And that is indeed a very good thing.
On both a musical and personal note, the entire evening worked out just right. Being the second person on line to enter the venue (My friend Tom was first), staking out and defending front row center spots and even getting to chat beforehand with a pre-suited up Peter Hughes in the bar. As corny as it may sound, it is also very true: tMG are not only great musicians, but great people. All of which made the three hours of commuting to Philly beyond worth it. The only sad part is I have to wait until next Monday, an entire week, to see it all over again.

1 comment:

caliclimber said...

Twas indeed an awesome show.