For a long time I have been a huge fan of the Mountain Goats, a sometimes one-man band headed up by poet, singer and guitarist John Darnielle. Last Friday I finally had the opportunity to see them when the played at the Fuel Rocket Club at Dartmouth College along with Prayers and Tears of Arthur Digby Sellers.
Casey, Will, Karen and I all gathered in Hanover, NH, where we drank margaritas, gin & tonics and whisky until the show started at 9:00. A sign outside the venue said it all with the words “Free Everything”, and they meant it. Free admission, free beer, and free water. I guess that since they’re Dartmouth they can offer that. The entire show ROCKED, and Prayers and Tears of Arthur Digby Sellers even joined the Goats for a number of songs, resulting in a much more “rocking” goats sound than I’ve ever heard from them before.
While his tenor tone is hard on the ears of some non-fans, I think it adds wonderfully to dark, outlaw message in many of his songs. I must not be alone in thinking this, as Darnielle has managed to build an impressive international following, as well as a successful online zine called Last Plane to Jakarta. A number of fan sites also exist, the most notable of which being themountaingoats.net which offers guitar tabs, MP3’s, set lists and a lot more.
Jim Fisher over at blogs salon has written an article about The Mountain Goats where he talks about one of the shows he attended, and pretty much sums up the spirit of the band when he quotes Darnielle as saying “I play an acoustic guitar, but I am not one of those guys with an acoustic guitar.”
It seems like I have a new favorite Goats song every day, but my current favorite is commandante (comandante.mp3). This rendition was was recorded at the Cat’s Cradle at Chapel Hill on 01.27.1999.
Also, check out the video for the song “This Year”, off the Mountain Goat’s newest album “The Sunset Tree”.