11 March 2008

the Mountain Goats @ the Doug Fir in Portland, Ore. 2/25/2008


The Portland show, like the city, was both smaller and much more "laid back"/ less enthusiastic than Seattle, in my opinion. On the other hand, it was also much more intimate setting. After reading the insightful and hilarious interview with John Darnielle in the Portland Mercury, I was almost fully recovered from my break after seeing them just 48 hours earlier in Seattle and ready for another go in a new state. Excessive fangirling ahoy!

Once again, I fail at setlists (which are, as you all know, completely irrelevant to the experience anyway). Here's what I got, completely disordered:
  • You or Your Memory
  • Autoclave
  • Sax Rohmer
  • See America Right
  • Lovecraft in Brooklyn
  • This Year
  • Palmcorder Yajna
  • San Bernadino
  • New Zion
  • Love Love Love
  • Exit Portland Oregon
  • No Children
  • Houseguest


Peter is always dressed somewhere between "dapper" and "impeccable" during shows, but here he completely outdid himself. Fantastic striped suit with a new vest, eye-popping kercheif and this salmon shirt. It was bloody brilliant, I swear. Fuck the Oscars, and "Oscar fashion." Peter was the best dressed man I've seen since my husband on our wedding day.

There was more dancing. This time, I avoid all sorts of disco dances; however, I'm not sure I wold have been completely out of place at either the Grateful Dead or INXS--nor would it be unfair to draw parallels to the requisite Guy Enjoying Himself, sadly. What's mainly disappointing is that in my own living room, dancing to tMG involves much more spinning than is usually permitted at shows. (And you can forget the grande jeté.)

Someone was even awesome enough to crack out a fine bottle of hooch for the band, which was then shared around the audience. Tempting as it seemed, I was determined not to catch "the crud" which had been floating around the city that week (I did anyway).

The libations were only enough to build tolerance for the endlessly more obscure requests (not counting "No Children!" screamed between every song) until finally some guy in the back said "Anything Pre-Tallahassee!" His wish was granted with the undoubtedly local favorite Exit Portland Oregon: "Goodbye, Portland/You tried to kill me/I don't blame you, I can't blame you/I don't blame you"




There was this girl standing just to my right. She was even shorter than I am, and I'm rather short. She did not budge an inch the entire time. Even when she was being lovingly serenaded by John during Houseguest! She was just as moved during the rockingest moments of Lovecraft as during John's mini-lecture about Chaucer. It was, for lack of a better word, bizarre. I know it's "cool" for indie-emo-hipster-types to stand absolutely still at shows as a display of appreciation, but come on.

At one point, John leant down to me during "Love Love Love" and--this was really almost embarassing-- I had been singing along JUST FINE until then, but the moment his dark eyes latched onto mine... all I could do was stand there slack-jawed and brain dead. I totally blanked, right at the one moment I should really not have. Instantly mortified, I couldn't hold his gaze and I bowed my head, and he moved on. Perhaps I should be consoled, however: during one point, John himself forget the lyrics in the third verse, and a handful of us in the front row helped him out.



What happened after that is somewhat of a mystery. The second encore provided us with No Children ("If I'm gonna play this song, you are obliged to put the fuck out"). I had been long craving to belt out that unadulterated vitriol at the top of my lungs in some place besides a car, and this time backed with a few hundred others. The emotion was intense. I was feelin' it. And when I reached out my unlovable, drowning hand, I felt a POP in my right arm, just above the elbow, and intense pain.

What the fuck--I actually managed to somehow injure myself simply from pure rocking. From the best I can determine, I either sprained something or pulled a tendon; either way, for nearly a week I could not extend my right arm without considerable pain now. This, truly, was a battle scar of pure love, and one I was honored to carry.



Flattery is too weak of a term to express how I felt when Peter stopped by to say hi to me onstage. After the show however, John came out to mingle and say hi to someone who had stuck around. I was compelled. This time, I will say hi. Buuuuut, I chickened out, like always. I already was the proud recipient of two fantastic high-fives and a failed serenade of Love. (And let me tell you, there is an art and skill to high-fives. This man has them down solid and proper.) I hid behind the merch booth and said "Thank you, John," mostly to myself.

tMG - No Children (live).mp3
tMG - So Desperate (live).mp3
tMG - Heretic Pride (live).mp3

Much thanks to Brian Latta Photography for the pics. Click on 'em to go to Flickr and see more. (Please ignore the swooning girl in the sequins up front--sadly, that was me). And here's video from the show. Autoclave:



1 comment:

Megan said...

A fantastic show indeed. I instantly became a drooling fan like the rest of you.