ecstatic shouting: mountain goats @ the bottom of the hill (Noise Pop 2008)

On Sunday, for my fifth show in as many days, I caught the Mountain Goats, So Many Dynamos (myspace), and Caves at a matinée show at the Bottom of the Hill. My how it was strange to see sunlight streaming through that window at the back of the stage.

Caves were on when I got there. I’d loved their song “Ahaha” but hadn’t heard a ton of their other stuff. They played an energetic set of pscyh rock. It wasn’t quite enough to my taste to rush out and see them again, but their set was fun and I’m glad I saw them.

So Many Dynamos were up after Caves. I’m not quite sure what the scheduler of the show was thinking and I wouldn’t have put the same band right before the Mountain Goats, but it actually worked out pretty well. The Mountain Goats are, of course, agitated folk rock, approximately, whereas So Many Dynamos are high energy (that part matches) mathy, angular rock. I was pretty into their set, my head nodding and trying to anticipate their time and stress changes. It passed the time really nicely and it felt good getting some rock in there.

By this point the place was packed and there was an air of anticipation. After a break that was longer than the people wanted, the Mountain Goats entered the stage. They’re now three: John Darnielle (the Mountain Goats when it comes down to it) on vocals and guitar, long time cohort Peter Hughes on bass and vocals and Superchunk drummer Jon Wurster in his second tour with the band.

This show was special. I’m trying to pick out when this show crossed over that line and I can’t pick one point. John Darnielle, in all the times I’ve seen him, always has a command of the audience with his odd gestures, often hilarious between song banter and tendency to stand at the edge of the stage singing into the audience.

I think it was just a slow build up. The band was tight and played good songs in a set that seemed fluid and up to Darnielle’s whim and the audience prodding. The audience and band seemed to feed and build off of each other. People were singing along with songs–at times it seemed that we only needed Darnielle as a focal point and cheerleader for our collective energy and common voice.

And people would not stop clapping. The band went off stage and of course there was an encore. Then they went off the stage again…and came back again. Everyone sang along and was joyous and cheered and was happy and the band went off stage. And the people demanded more. These cheers weren’t those we’re-expecting-an-encore-so-we’ll-keep-clapping-just- enough-that-the-band-doesn’t-feel-bad-or-unwanted sort of cheers; these were legitimate cheers. Darnielle came back again (for a third encore), at first with hummas and pita in his mouth (he’d started eating; he thought he was done, then doing Ace of Base’s “The Sign” solo (with audience contributing vocals as well) and then bringing back the full band for sing along “Best Ever Death Metal Band Out of Denton”.

I’d seen the Mountain Goats before but they hadn’t quite been like this. By the end I wanted to open my mouth and sing or shout along even if I didn’t know the song. It was an ecstatic atmosphere. As we all poured back out into the sunlight on that beautiful day, it was nothing less than a huge smile that was on my face.

This was, I believe, the only all ages show of the three that the Mountain Goats played at Noise Pop–I believe the Bimbo’s show was 18+ and the Independent show was definitely 21+–so there was a good representation of the younger kids and there was a nice group of them crushed up against the stage. Young disaffected kids rocking out makes my heart warm.

John Darnielle waxes poetic about the panties that were thrown on stage

Here’s the set list:

  • Michael Myers Resplendent
  • Heretic Pride
  • You Or Your Memory [sing along]
  • Quito
  • Sax Rohmer #1
  • Marduk T-shirt Men’s Room Incident
  • —[band leaves the stage, Darnielle solo]—

  • So Desperate
  • Raja Vocative
  • I’ve Got The Sex [request, “yeah, I’ll play that shit”]
  • Downtown Seoul
  • —[band returns]—

  • In The Craters On The Moon
  • Dilaudid
  • Sept 15, 1983
  • Lovecraft in Brooklyn
  • —[encore]—

  • See America Right
  • Houseguest (cover of Nothing Painted Blue)
  • —[second encore]—

  • This Year [sing along, solo(?)]
  • California Song
  • —[third encore]—

  • The Sign (cover of Ace of Base) [sing along]
  • Best Ever Death Metal Band in Denton[sing along]

(Thanks to Christopher on theForum for the set list.)

[Update:] the show is now up on if you want to listen to it.

More photos after the break or you can view more at my photo album.


So Many Dynamos

Mountain Goats

6 responses to “ecstatic shouting: mountain goats @ the bottom of the hill (Noise Pop 2008)”

  1. Holy. Crap. I wish I could have seen this…

  2. […] I saw The Mountain Goats play The Bottom of the Hill recently. They were fantastic, and John Darnielle was in particularly good spirits. When I go to a show it often triggers me listening to that band’s music for a while. I tend to pull out the old albums that I remember loving, that are the reason I would want to even go see the band’s show, but that I may not have listened to in a while. This was very much the case with The Mountain Goats. I remember being profoundly affected by The Sunset Tree (once I finally started really listening to it.) I had the album for a while but could never get in to it. Then one day in my old office I decided that I was going to listen to it enough to have a reasonable opinion, even if it was unfavorable. At the time I was facing some dark stuff in my life. I played The Sunset Tree while I worked. Then I played it again, and again. I drank in the whole album. […]

  3. […] October 23: the Mountain Goats, Kaki King @ the Independent, 8pm, $22.50, 21+ Some of the more ridiculous and amazing shows I’ve been to have been by the Mountain Goats. Lead man John Darnielle controls an […]

  4. […] I said yesterday: some of the more ridiculous and amazing shows I’ve been to have been by the Mountain Goats. Lead man John Darnielle controls an […]

  5. […] Goats, So Many Dynamos @ Bottom of the Hill, SF, CA, 3/2 (original post) Four encores, a packed crowd of die-hard fans, John Darnielle in top form, the audience on bated […]

  6. […] forward left and right. I don’t remember a show at the Bottom of the Hill that packed since that Mountain Goats […]

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