I’ll be rocking my Babylon Springs tour shirt from 2006 in all my Mountain Goats fangirl glory.
My two wishes for tomorrow night are that they play Brisbane Hotel Sutra and that they have great tour shirts this time (bonus we are the second show of the tour so there should be plenty of sizes to pick from :))
How is that for a title?
Last Sunday night, I went to something incredible. The Mountain Goats were back in town to deliver a concert that was promised at the last show in 2008. This was to be an epic show delivered to those of us who endured but loved the December 2008 show which saw the crowd and Peter Peter Hughes singing most of the songs because John Darnielle was too ill to sing.
I was quite a fan girl and wore my Babylon Springs tour t-shirt which I re-fashioned a few hours earlier so it now had more of a boat neck and shorter sleeves – way more comfy then it was originally and a lot less neck strangling now by said shirt. The old tour shirt coupled with my front row spot in front and just a bit to the left of PPH would yet again cement me as the fan girl that I am. It was my fifth show. I thought it was my only fourth but then I went through tour date archives and yep last Sunday was show #5 for me. By far, the most times I have seen an international act.
The support act was Crayon Fields. I don’t know what really to say about them but I am sure there could have been a better support act picked. I didn’t mind a few of the songs but I don’t think I would be rushing out to see them again.
And really the crowd was here to hear and see the promised Holy Grail. To which after playing the first song, we get the obligatory, “Hi, we’re the Mountain Goats” and then this, “Ladies and gentlemen of Brisbane, I owe you one and youâ€™re about to get it”. Big exceptions were held by a few people I spoke to in the crowd. I however, learnt some time ago even if something big is promised to you, not to expect 200% as your hopes will be dashed if you only get 150%. I was expecting a long show with lots of old favourites, some obscure ones, some new things and talking and story telling. I had a list of some songs I expected to be on the set list on my head and I got the majority of those songs on my wishful set list. I got my 199%. I was quite happy.
I had a few observations on the crowd though. The crowd seemed to be a lot younger this time than last. I remember the last few shows I would say I felt like I was one of the younger people there, this time though I would say half the crowd looked like they were between 18-21 and not the 25-35 I remember last time. There didn’t seem to be quite the same buzz in the crowd, the sing-a-longs were a lot quieter than I recall. Maybe I’m just recalling my younger days too fondly.
I did have a gripe with a fellow crowd member and I was “oh, this close” to turning to her and telling her to close her mouth. Now I have no problem whatsoever with people singing along when it is a sing-a-long song like say This Year or Going to Georgia but singing along to songs when no one else in the crowd is and for those round you, your singing is louder than JD’s, yeah I have a problem with that.
Back to the topic at hand and that is music, Mountain Goats music, those magic words with that magic music that makes all those other things fall away into the beer stained floor boards.
What wondrous words were spoken/sung/shouted you ask? Well following is the titles of those songs.
1 Samuel 15:23
Old College Try
Your Belgian Things
Letter From Belgium
The Day the Aliens Came
Color In Your Cheeks
The Monkey Song
Going to Georgia
Ezekiel 7 And The Permanent Efficacy Of Grace
Houseguest (Nothing Painted Blue cover)
If you know me extremely well or have listened and actually really listened to me babble on about the Mountain Goats at one point or another which in my mental tally probably equates to probably zero people. You will see one song in that set which might make you smile at the thought that Helen would have really loved finally seeing that song live.
That song would be The Monkey Song and the most remarkable thing about seeing that song live, is that I requested it and JD picked my request….. Oh yeah my request, I say. I must actually confess that it was my second request as JD vetoed my first request of The Sign. He was telling us a tale of a concert he had gone to when he was 7 or thereabouts and the singer had asked everyone to yell out requests and he would pick one. JD to this day wants to know if he actually heard a song and picked one or just picked one himself. During this the entire crowd were yelling songs. Then there was a moment of silence and JD leaned over to where I was standing and asked what song I wanted. I bashfully asked for The Sign and he said something along the lines of “no, something else?” Then I said “The Monkey Song”, he said “what?” then I said “Monkey in the Basement”. He stood up and presented us with the below little piece of magic which someone else every so kindly recorded and put on youtube.
I didn’t get a tour shirt as I had planned because it was black. I don’t like black t-shirts, I have one black t-shirt and that is my Breeders t-shirt because frankly it was the only thing on offer. The shirt was pretty cool and you can see a picture of it here if you care (I love the added post-it notes)
I did however get a poster. (268/365)
Do you know how many concerts I’ve been to at The Zoo and failed at getting a poster? Many, many times, this is the only poster I’ve managed to score and it currently is blu-tacked to the wall above my bed quite happily reminding me of all my past tMG memories.
Till next time, I enjoy the Mountain Goats on the stage at The Zoo (because frankly that is their Brisbane stomping ground though a Troubie show would be kinda cool). I leave you with this. If you were at the show, you will get a laugh and know what this means, if you weren’t well just enjoy it for what it is and enjoy it for what it isn’t
I was walking home from the bus stop today for the first time in weeks (I have been getting picked up since I did my ankle), as I was walking past one house I looked up over the tiled roof to the blue sky and though to myself it really is a prefect day. I am walking home from the bus stop, the cake box under my arm is empty, my hair is down, I walked out of work at 4pm and my desk was clear, the sky is blue after it was washed this morning and the temperature is just right. Oh and I was also listening/singing along to This Year. That last bit might have had a slightly bigger impact on me realising that today is a perfect day than say the empty cake box.
It also wasn’t just any This Year that I was listening to either it was from the show at Bottom of the Hill in San Fran last week. One thing I have noticed from listening to the recent shows on archive.org and reading blog reviews is that the shows are becoming more and more a big singalong. Am I complaining? No. Incidentally the Mountain Goats are one of two artists who I have never felt uncomfortable singing along to at gigs, the other is Peter Combe, he is/was a children’s artist, that is expected. A ‘Goats show is really just one big family reunion or perhaps it is the growth of a cult, we all look at this man on stage (JD) and his disciples and we say those words along with them. Saying those words from the bottom of our heart. Where it is ok to say those words, not those gigs where people around you look at you and start “bumping” into you if you start singing along at any level above a whisper. Saying those words like they are going to deliver you from salvation. mmmm perhaps I should just put The Mountain Goats in the religion box on facebook.
Which leads me to the The ‘Goats and their upcoming tour. In just about a month exactly I am going to flex off early from work on Friday and fly down to Newcastle see them play and then go to Sydney for the Saturday night show before coming back to Brisbane on Sunday, catching their Tuesday show at the Zoo before going up to the Sunny Coast on Thursday for the last show. Crazy perhaps but as Mum tells me I am footloose, fancy free and working the 8-4. I haven’t bought my plane tickets or show tickets yet but I will be doing that in the next few days.
This is a photo I took on the way home today. A little lost shoe.
It is Feb 18 and I have known what my top three albums of 2008 will be for about the last six weeks. These are three albums that I have been looking forward, one for years, the others not so long. These are albums by three artists who have each made significant thumb prints on my musical taste. I have vivid memories of the first time that I heard/saw each of these artists. I remember sitting in front of the TV watching a clip on RAGE and going woah! Or listening to some random US college radio stream and googling the song lyrics with more haste than I ever have before. The other I remember sitting on the floor at The Troubie grinning and going Man oh Man, where has this person been hiding? These are albums that will be played and are been played endlessly on repeat. Those albums that you make numerous copies of so that you have one beside every CD player you frequent. The album that no matter how many times you listen to it through you still smile at the opening strains of a track.
This post was originally planned as one large post with all three albums in it. However, one album came out today, the other comes out in two months and the third sometime in June and as a result I have typed a fair bit about the album that was released today but not much about the other two. Which is not very fair is it? The album that came out today I have been listening to on non-stop repeat ever since I got the leaked copy, the others I have heard a 60 second clip of one track and the other I know some songs due to a promo single. Anyone who knows me and has actually listened when I have talked about music in the past few years will quite possibly know the three albums I am talking about now.
I rang a few stores today to see who had this album in stock, Rocking Horse told me that they had it on the shelf since last week! The other stores were still waiting for it come in. I went to Rocking Horse after work today 🙂
As soon you read that line though you knew didn’t you. The ‘Goats (as I refer to them) show back on September 10, 2005 at the Zoo marked a turning point for me. I was so hungry to see this band play that I bit the bullet, walked into Rocking Horse bought a ticket and went to my first real gig by myself. Just after the second time I witnessed them play in April 2006 I made this comment in a blog post. It was also probably my first time taking gig photos.
However, there is small group of bands that you love on a whole other level. They are the ones where the songs reverberate through your soul, you smile/frown/cry/get angry/laugh at their songs. They are bands in which you feel connected to every other person at the gig, knowing that you are a select group of people taking part in something special. They are the bands that donâ€™t need pyrotechnics, fancy lighting or 99 costume changes to make music. All they need is themselves and their instruments to create music that you can feel in the air. Itâ€™s music that tells a story, itâ€™s what makes me live.
JD put a copy of the opening track Sax Rohmer #1 on the ‘Goats blog. I googled it to see what others had said and found out that the album had leaked. My fingers quivered over the keyboard, to grab a copy or not, I got a copy. Man o Man x 254. So looking forward to the ‘Goats tour in April. The Zoo will go off and wherever else I might see the show…..
Back to the album.
This is one hell of an album. It is no Sunset Tree that doesn’t mean it is bad it is anything but. I think I love it more than Sunset Tree, to my ears it flows together better as a whole album when playing it through. It is a few years after The Sunset Tree. It is an older album. It is grown up. I hear promises in it. I hear life and love and lost love in it. Stereogum posted a premature evaluation I agree with parts of it but not with other parts. Perhaps because I just disappear into a smile when I listen to the CD, I love that album unconditionally.
Hearing the opening strains of San Bernardino my heart starts to flutter at the joy that song holds. Then there is Sax Rhomer #1 that just whispers to me to sing the chorus line “I’m coming home to you if it’s the last thing that I do”. and oh the video clip for Sax Rhomer #1 is such an interesting clip.
Michael Myers Resplendent is perhaps the song that has grown on me the most. It has those grand orchestral feelings. I can just see JD and PPH in my mind doing a Tim Freedman/Ben Folds with any of the state orchestras. It just feels so grand.
I have a feeling if JD was born a 100 years ago, he would have been one of the great novelists or poets of the modern world. We would not talk of Hemingway or Huxley but of Darnielle. His lyrics are just so perfectly written, so illustrative yet full of hidden meaning.
The Mountain Goats are not for everyone but oh if you love them you love them so much it hurts.