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The Mountain Goats Live Performance

by Mike Wilson - 89.1 The Point
Tue, Apr 24th 2018 10:00 pm

The Mountain Goats could be described as a folk rock band. You may have first heard them with the theme song to Adult Swim’s long gone claymation project “Morel Orel,” “No Children.” Or maybe you’ve heard them in “The Walking Dead” with their song “Up The Wolves.” Either way, The Mountain Goats are one of the most popular and prolific bands in the Indie Folk Rock genre.

The band consists of lead singer, pianist and guitarist John Darnielle, who Rolling Stone calls The Best Storyteller in Rock. The band is composed of bassist and vocalist Peter Hughes, drummer Jon Wurster, and Matt Douglas on keyboards and sax. Together the group really brought it to Buffalo on April 20.

The Mountain Goats came to the stage under a thundering applause, standing room only with folks circling the horseshoe balcony. Sometimes when seeing a band with as many albums and cassette tapes under their belt as The Mountain Goats, a fan might sense a tingle of prophetic dissatisfaction. Would they play the best stuff, the new stuff or the older stuff? That feeling might sway a person from purchasing tickets. 

The prophecies were wrong; the set list was epic. With over 15 albums, the Goats played a sampling from their best albums.

Darnielle played some of their best tracks from Tallahassee (2002) to open, one of their best albums. Including tracks “Tallahassee” and “Game Shows Touch Our Lives,” among others. Tracks from Beat the Champ (2015), a wrestling-themed album, accompanied a masked concert goer dressed in a lucha-libre costume. 

A few more songs preceded the real magic. The band exited stage left halfway into the concert, leaving Darneille alone on stage with a highball glass and a piano. It may be years before we know if it will ever come to be, but it certainly felt like a folk-rock Sinatra. Darneille graced us with several solo songs, the best being “Black Pear Tree,” before The Mountain Goats fully returned to the stage.

The band began playing tracks from Transcendental Youth (2012). This album had the crowd roaring in the second half of the show. The band really had the audience, myself included, eating out of its hand and that love was reciprocated. The Mountain Goats appreciated the turnout and the vibe of the crowd with not only the intensity of their performance but with the two encores they played.

A real mix of alternative rock, driven to folk tunes that tell stories so familiar to the darker flairs of life, love and beauty in the bitter. The Mountain Goats at Babeville in Buffalo was all in all a five star show.

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