Gig Review: The Mountain Goats at The Art School

By Dominic Cassidy (@lyre_of_apollo)

The Mountain Goats are awaited by the crowd with bated breath and I’d be lying if I said I was not amongst their number, in terms of the mob or the state of breath. North Carolina based folk rockers The Mountain Goats – consisting of the ever present singer-songwriter John Darnielle and multi-instrumentalist Matt Douglas – ascend to the stage accompanied by cries of devotion from the loving Glasgow crowd. Opening with Have to Explode, the cheers and whooping give way to absolute silence. When the song ends so does the hush, the hanging silence expelled with thankful applause.

It becomes clear almost immediately that The Goats will not be playing the greatest hits from their latest album, Goths: instead, this is a show for the super fans, as hit after ancient hit blasts from the speakers. In between hitting out with the band’s classics as well as newer material, Darnielle rambles with an intelligence and conversational ease seldom seen by crowds, but almost expected from one who has been making music for 20 plus years; and, honestly, the experience shows. Tracks wise, the stand outs from the night were Until I Am Whole, You or Your Memory, We Do It Different on the West Coast, the beautifully quiet Get Lonely, and the ever fantastic No Children.

There were very different vibes from the crowd throughout the gig. Songs like No Children were belted out word for word with ferocity, whereas during Get Lonely the crowd stood like a forest at night, but so much more silent; people asking to get by did so whispering.

Honestly, for me the gig was a beautiful exhibition of long-crafted skill and art, showing how well playing to the crowd can be done. The innate crowd interaction from John Darnielle who was loving the little stand up bits, made the night all the more special. If you have not seen The Mountain Goats live, I can recommend nothing more, and if you have never heard them, I would start now; on The Sunset TreeTallahassee, or Beat the Champ.

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