Mountain Goats at Terminal West, 11/29/12
The Mountain Goats are a band that aim to tug at the heartstrings of everyone their music reaches. In fact, tug is far too gentle of a word. This is a band that wants to wrench at your heartstrings so intensely that by the end of listening to one of their records, you’re emotionally drained, but oddly feel better for it. One would think that this sort of emotion and sincerity would be difficult to reproduce live, but The Mountain Goats’ have repeatedly proven that such is not the case.
Last night’s show at Terminal West, one of Atlanta’s newer concert venues, kicked off with Matthew E. White and his company of supporting players. White’s placement on this tour was anything other than coincidental, as he was responsible for providing the Mountain Goat’s newest album with a horn and brass section, a fairly new addition for the band. With a sound that resembles a mixture of southern rock, jazz, and a bit of soul. With a sound that resembles a mixture of southern rock, jazz, and a bit of soul, the band provides a fitting accompaniment for White’s soulful crooning.
After Matthew E. White’s set, the Mountain Goats took to the stage shortly thereafter. As Darnielle, Hughes, and Wurster came to the stage, the crowd had an odd air quiet exhilaration as nearly all people in the packed room hung on every word that Darnielle said before beginning the set. The setlist consisted of a good mixture of classic songs from the Mountain Goats such as “Love Love Love”, “The Best Ever Death Metal Band in Denton”, and “First Few Desperate Hours” along with newer hits from their newest album Transcendental Youth like “Cry for Judas” and “In Memory of Satan”. The brass section from Matthew E. White’s band also took the stage during tracks for Transcendental Youth to provide the full effect heard on the album. Darnielle also made the experience much more personal and intimate throughout the set by giving anecdotes for songs along with casually mentioning how he’d forgotten some chords to older songs and even his setlist backstage. The emotions rippling through the audience may have been one of the most paradoxical feelings I’ve experienced at a show. It was as if each person was having their own little moment with the band, relating Darnielle’s crooning with their own personal experiences while also bonding with others in the audience that had undoubtedly felt the same thing at some point in their life and found solace in the bands albums. This was especially evident when the band performed “This Year” for one of their two encores, both of which consisted of two or more songs, and the crowd erupted in an anthem like fashion by chanting along with Darnielle.
By the end of the show, the crowd seemed to have gone through the same emotional rollercoaster one would expect when listening to a Mountain Goats album in the solitude of one’s own room. Both bands stellar performance combined with Terminal West’s awesome layout made for an incredible experience.