I’m embarrassed in a way to admit that I only recently listened to the Mountain Goats, because they’ve been around since their albums were released on cassette. It appears our artists are the crazy type that bring out records every year or two. Anyway, after hearing they were coming to Adelaide again (I’d missed them previously), I bought their most recent album “Get Lonely” a few weeks back and have been listening to it since. I guess it’s my type of music. Feel free to read about them on allmusic.com; it seems a fair introduction.
I would say that their live performance didn’t surprise me very much. But it did impress me a lot. This is the first acoustic performance I can remember to have no drums, just guitar and bass. The write-up above calls them “militantly lo-fi”, a term that suits. Even more so than on their recording, their music is stripped back but doesn’t feel empty. Quite the contrary; the energy put in by the lead and his bass player easily kept the gig trundling along nicely.
A highlight for me was the incredible lengths the singer went to introduce his songs. Eloquent, verbose, and witty, you could easily see the clever lyrics of the songs echoed by the composer.
While it’s common to see the lead rocking out to his own music, I was really impressed by the bass player, who played like a king, drunk Jameson’s from the bottle, and had an awesome time doing it.
The song lineup was predominantly from “Get Lonely”, but featured older songs frequently. I know this because I didn’t know them. I had the misfortune to stand in front of an avid fan who sung along to most of the songs… luckily he was generally in tune and in pitch, and drowned out by the actual performers I went to see.
While I can’t say that I’m going to thoroughly investigate the Mountain Goat’s prodigious back catalogue, I would like to check out a couple of their more well respected works. You can’t go through 16 years with almost as many albums without some cracking work. A good band for me to keep an eye on in the future.