Concert Review: The Mountain Goats, April 3, The Opera House

Toronto – After The Mountain Goats played their first song, I heard a fan behind me shouting out for “Going To Georgia.”  Seriously?  Shouting out requests at a concert is a dubious activity at the best of times, but this was a demonstration of some serious overexuberance and/or impatience.  Not to mention a serious misjudgement of how good John Darnielle’s hearing was. Still, his enthusiasm could be forgiven, seeing as how The Mountain Goats had not been through town since 2007. 

Despite the long gap between visits, Darnielle and co. made a great impression on the packed crowd.  They entered to the strains of Morbid Angel’s “Where The Slime Live” (Best. Entrance music. Ever.), a nod to Darnielle’s metal fanhood and an obvious tribute to Eric Rutan, who produced several songs off their new tarot card themed album, All Eternals Deck.  Darnielle apologized for taking so long to come back and noted that they have since acquired a drummer, the great Jon Wurster of Superchunk and The Best Show fame.  The man resposible for bringing us The Gorch added some nice touches on the kit, but sadly, did not attack anybody with a chain.    

This was my first time seeing the Mountain Goats as a full band and while the band does add quite a bit, when it comes down to it, The Mountains Goats is all about Darnielle’s songs.  Lyrically, the songs are quite evocative and usually an example of fine storytelling.  Darnielle also proved to be a fine storyteller between songs, telling stories that were both amusing (anecdotes about his admiration for Amy Grant and how she inspired him to not wear shoes onstage) and insightful (the story behind a song that was inspired by a time when he broke up with a girl … by mailing her a letter!)

Of course, I couldn’t quite hear all of these stories.  Such is the case when you get a large group of people together in one space, some of whom are a tad too enthusiastic about their love for the band.  It just so happened that I was situated for awhile near a group of young, drunk fans who were a bit too loud and talking throughout the set.  Apparently another, more silent fan had been either telling them to be quiet or giving them the stinkeye or both, but it erupted at one point into one of them yelling at this guy and getting angry over him telling them to shut up.  Now, I am not a huge fan of talking at shows, but was not overly troubled by their talking until the yelling started, at which point, I turned and said, as politely as possible, “Yeah, but could you please shut up now?”  (I did say please …)  I don’t begrudge them their chance to have a little fun and don’t think there was any malice or disregard for the band in their behaviour.  They did seem to be Mountain Goats fans in their own way, but I got the impression that perhaps they’re more accustomed to going to punk shows.  I tell you this though; if this had been a Mark Kozelek show, Kozelek would’ve come down off the stage and eviscerated them for daring to talk during his set.  Still, regardless of any shenanigans happening in the audience, it was a solid set from a solid band.  Now please don’t wait another five years to come back to town.

The Mountain Goats – Damn These Vampires by Indiespot

Posted on by Paul in Concerts