Latest Tour a Godsend for Superfans
When I showed up at Mountain Goats frontman John Darnielle’s now-former house in Ames, IA in 2000, it was epic – long before everyone oversaturated that adjective. I was a student at Iowa State University and I was there to interview him for the school paper. But actually, it was more of a hangout.
As red wine flowed, we listened to some Norwegian death metal, a longtime obsession of his. Of course, John’s acoustic folk rock is the absolute opposite of black metal. However, he often strums his guitar just as violently as any member of Mayhem ever would.
He showed me boxes and boxes of cassette tapes filled with original songs he recorded on his trusty boombox. In those days, John performed solo and recorded all of his music on that boombox. Now he rocks a full band, complete with a horn section. He even performed at Carnegie Hall earlier this year.
But on his current tour, John Darnielle is paired solely with now-veteran bassist Peter Hughes, sporting an old-school vibe in intimate venues.
At his gig last night at Chicago’s Lincoln Hall, Darnielle performed a myriad of quiet songs that were deep cuts from albums that leaned more to the obscure. “You Were Cool,” a fan-favorite that is unreleased was a highlight, as was “Ox Baker Triumphant,” from 2006’s esoteric “Babylon Springs” EP.
At moments, it was so quiet you could hear the fizzle and pop of a beer can opening. It was like an opera concert, with everyone in the audience not making a peep, except to applaud at the end of each song. That’s how intimate the fan’s relationship is with John.
Whether they were lip synching or singing at full volume, the crowd enjoyed every minute of it. And rightly so. His ultra-fanatical followers snap up and memorize every EP, every B-side, every album (there are 14, not including the stuff he used to release on cassette tape only).
The only “hit” he played was the encore – “No Children” – a fast, singalong lyrical masterpiece from 2002’s “Tallahassee.” But it didn’t matter. The Cult of Mountain Goats knew every single song. And every single song sounded great.
19 – Kansas City, MO – The Record Bar [SOLD OUT]
20 – St. Louis, MO – Old Rock House
22 – Birmingham, AL – The Bottletree [SOLD OUT]
23 – Gainesville, FL – High Dive
24 – Fort Lauderdale, FL – Culture Room
26 – Charleston, SC – The Charleston Pourhouse
27 – West Columbia, SC – New Brookland Tavern
28 – Wilmington, NC – The Soapbox
6 – Durham, NC – Festival for the Eno
26 – Newport, RI – Newport Folk Festival
28 – Asheville, NC – Bele Chere Festival
13-16 – Miami, FL – Atlantic Ocean Comedy and Music Festival
7 – Bristol, UK – St. Georges
8 – London, UK – Union Chapel
9 – Manchester, UK – Royal Northern College of Music
10 – Glasgow, Scotland – Arches
12 – Gent, Belgium – Handelsbeurs
13 – Amsterdam, Netherlands – People’s Place
14 – Cologne, Germany – Luxor
16 – Paris, France – La Gaite Lyrique
18 – Madrid, Spain – Teatre Conde Duque
19 – Barcelona, Spain – Caprichos de Apolo