The Mountain Goats @ The Corner Hotel 10/05/2011

Photo: Ben Christensen

With songs about dysfunctional relationships, child abuse and a decent sprinkling of biblical references, it would be easy to assume Mountain Goats shows would be a sombre affair. Instead Thursday night’s show at The Corner felt like a massive party dedicated to shouting lyrics back at the stage, great banter and swooning during each song. And I loved every minute of it.

Catherine Traicos and the Starry Night kicked things off, but failed to grab the restless crowd’s attention. Her mellow folk songs were nice but given the anticipation for the headliner’s set, they acted as background music. Despite her efforts to entertain the crowd with her between song banter, it was hard not to think that she would be better in a headlining show.

Opening with In Memory of Satan, the first of many from the upcoming Transcendental Youth album, the Mountain Goats completely captivated the sold-out crowd.

Photo: Ben Christensen

The setlist drew from a number of the band’s 17 albums, with a heavy emphasis on fan favourites The Sunset Tree and Tallahassee.

See America Right saw the former acoustic lo-fi band in full-blown rock mode and Birth of Serpents

A brief solo part of the set was extended at Darnielle’s insistence as the crowd sang along to Jenny, The Colour in You Cheeks and You or Your Memory.

It’s clear that The Mountain Goats have the ability to move people. Between the girl on my left gasping at the start of each song, the tall guy up the front who knew every single lyric, and the countless song requests, to the uninitiated it probably looked like a scene out of Jesus Camp

The band also seemed to be enjoying themselves and by the end of the night it was hard to tell if the audience or John Darnielle was having more fun.

The new tracks Transcendental Youth and The Diaz Bothers were both catchy and incredibly well received, with the former being a piano based ballad that caused maximum swooning up the front.

The final part of the set went well into singalong territory. Love Love Love got a great reaction and This Year went off completely.

The band’s no planned encore policy lead to a conference about how to play Never Quite Free and the most entertaining  tuning I have ever seen (Nobody would probably object if the band chose to release Guitar Explorations part 2).

The band left us with No Children and as we hurled insults at each other it was clear that there was no place anyone in the room would rather be.

Photos are by Ben Christensen. He’s a camera master and has a gig photography blog:


Music News 19/01/2012

Things have gone from bad to terrible for the Big Day Out with the recent announcement that this year’s Aukland event will be the last.

This year they’ve seen downsizing, Vivian Lees leave and a partnership with C3 Presents. It’ll be sad if the festival doesn’t continue, but genre festivals have made it so easy to see a certain type of band without most of the bogans.

If you feel like getting your sad on, The Mountain Goats are touring in May.

I’m actually looking for someone to come to the Melbourne show with me, so if you’re keen tweet, email or carrier pigeon me. I promise I’ll only swoon a little bit.

The dates are as follows:

The Bakery, Perth
Tuesday 1st May

The Great Northern, Byron Bay
Thursday 3rd May

The Zoo, Brisbane
Friday 4th May

The Metro, Sydney
Sunday 6th May

The Clarendon, Katoomba
Tuesday 8th May

The Corner Hotel, Melbourne
Thursday 10th May

Surely Gene Simmons doesn't need a codpiece THAT big

If you like rock and rolling all night and partying every day then you’ll be more than happy to hear the Kiss are coming in 2013. Sure, given their collective age of 2 million there’s a possibility it might be a bit shit, the pyrotechnics alone will be totally worth it.

However at the moment, there are no dates.

If you’re anything like me, Valentine’s day usually involves copious amounts of chocolate and Colin Firth movies. But this year you’ll be able to get your quirky pop on  because Aleks and the Ramps will be releasing their 3rd album Facts. 

The first single Middle Aged Unicorn On Beach With Sunset (I think I need a lie down after typing all that) is excellent and the album will be out on digital download or vinyl depending on how much of a hipster you are.

Mountain Goats Australian Tour

When I heard that The Mountain Goats were touring Australia I got very excited and then extremely frustrated because their Melbourne show isn’t all ages. Sometimes, no, most of the time, I really want to punch  liquor licensing Victoria in the face. And they think that alcohol makes you violent…

If you’re yet to hear The Mountain Goats, I highly recommend that you do. While their sound differs between their lo-fi and high-fi albums, the main focus is always on John Darnielle’s brilliant and often depressing lyrics.

Their Australian tour dates are:

Sunday April 11 – The Zoo, Brisbane
Tuesday April 13 – Manning Bar, Sydney
Wednesday April 14 – The Corner Hotel, Melbourne
Friday April 16 – Fowlers Live, Adelaide
Sunday April 18 – The Rosemount, Perth

Forget what I said about Love To A Monster by Okkervil River being the most bitter break-up song ever, No Children is by far the most bitter I’ve heard. Who can beat lyrics like ” I hope I cut myself shaving tomorrow/I hope it bleeds all day long.” It’s dark,  malicious and amazing.


The Mountain Goats- No Children.mp3