Sara and I went to Nashville last night to see the Mountain Goats play at the Mercy Lounge. Sara wasn’t feeling great and, as such, didn’t have a good of an experience as I did.
John Darnielle is at once, charming, earnest, and joyous in person. A lot of times, an artist talks on stage, explaining songs as they go, and you think, “Please just play your songs, I don’t need the commentary.” Darnielle was so engaging that I found myself hoping he would talk between each number.
Like everybody, I go to concerts of bands I love hoping to hear certain songs. Two of the songs I hoped for were No Children and This Year - neither one of which I really expected to hear just because they’re fan-favorites; songs crowds love and that you can easily imagine Darnielle getting tired of. I kind of feel like if I was in a band, I would automatically not play any song that multiple people screamed out the names of between every song - but then again, I’m kind of a jerk. Luckily, Darnielle is not and the show included both No Children and This Year. Both songs were real barn burners. It was heaven.
Also, he totally pretended like he was going to do an Amy Grant cover. Which was… surreal.