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June 25, 2005

Got Your Goats

Thank god for second chances. Thank god for Craigslist, for the duct tape gene, and for learning from our mistakes. And thank god for the Mountain Goats, who brought the magic and the dance music.

After throwing up on greater San Francisco on Thursday night and effectively missing the entire Mountain Goats set, on Friday night Teddy and I scored tickets (thanks Matt from Craigslist!) for the second show, which we attended sober and seriously ready to jam. I also figured out how to fix my camera (WWDD?), which means I got about twenty minutes of awesome video from the concert as well as a bunch of still pictures taken just especially for you, ladies and gents.

First, the scene of the crime. Right there in the gutter behind the white car. Blech. Teddy also took a picture of me where I ralphed around the corner from the club, but I'm not posting it because you can actually still see the evidence there in the street, and that's a little too gross, even for me, even for you. Can you tell this is a big deal to me, this rite of passage that most people experience sometime between, oh, their first kiss and high school graduation? So I'm a little developmentally slow...

Okay. Nicer pictures now. Of scrumptious musician types:

The Double opened for the Goats and they were really fantastic. Both times. Listen for these guys on the radio someday soon. Their music is technically damn intelligent, but it also has great catchy "single" potential, so they should make it to the bigtime eventually. Plus, they're cute and stuff and their live show is outstanding. Here's the solid lead singer, the dramatic keyboard/electronic machine thingies guy, the guitarist/autoharpist (who deserves props for boldly embracing the combover and the plaid and the butt crack), and here is the drummer, Jeff "Two Beers" McLeod, who rocked my smiling face right off and then kept on banging. I plan to actually fork over some money for a Double album, and that's saying something, coming from the Music Industry's Worst Nightmare/Free Mp3s' Best Customer.

Sidenote: Friday's concert was an all-ages show, which meant the place was lousy with smelly, hormone-crazed teens. (And tons of parents, one of whom brought a book.) This is what the kids are doing with their hair these days. It's like the bloody British Invasion all over again.
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One more thing before I get to the Goats. At Thursday's concert I schmoozed with the merch guy, who just happened to also be Mountain Goats bassist Peter Hughes, although I didn't realize it at the time. (He was so familiar, I thought he was John Darnielle.) Peter was very nice and lovely and made it aaaalmost okay that they didn't have any CDs for sale at the show. I was hoping to see Peter again last night and not only make up for my gaybo "My Latin's a little rusty" comment from the night before but also to make him the inagural subject of my new project: The Merch Table Gallery, wherein I snap a digital memory of the thankless lugs who get stuck hawking T-shirts with plugs in their ears night after night after night. Yeah, okay, in addition to crushing on one or more member of every band I see, I also get googly-eyed over the merch table guys. And the roadies. And the bouncers. Okay, I'm apparently Boy-Crazy Stacey, but whatever. So anyway, I decided that I would start taking pictures of the merch table peeps, you know, show them a little love. Unfortunately, Peter wasn't working the table at the second show, but these two lovelies--John and Wynette (hold on for both pictures)--were, and they were nice and awesome and just charmingly vain enough to make me take two pictures because the first one didn't turn out ("I was CHEWING! Take another!"). It was only three minutes after I bought a collecters' pin from them and shook their hands and introduced myself and walked away before I realized that Chewing John was none other than John Vanderslice, the Mountain Goats' producer and the mastermind behind Tiny Telephone, which is the premier indie recording studio in all the land. Cool cool cool. (I later found out that the merch girl, Wynnette, is bassist Peter's girlfriend. She asked me my name. We are BFF.)

So now, the show. I seriously smiled through the whole thing. This show rivaled the Decemberists' show. It was so astoundingly good. Find a way to see these guys live. Please. It's good for your heart.
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If you read lyrics from John D's extensive song catalog, you might expect him to be off the sad, bitter, standoffish, tortured variety, but seeing him perform, I don't think I've witnessed anyone enjoy making music as much as he did. He was beaming, revelling, a walking, talking, singing, rocking big red heart blasting love through the amps.
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Peter was perfect.
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John Vanderslice guested on a few songs too and man, I wish I could figure out how to post video to this thing because he had joy joy joy in his soul that night and joy joy joy in his arms all right. All right!
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And now, for my Vague and Cryptic Comment o' the Day™, let me say that John Darnielle saved my life one weekend last winter, and last night he did it again. There was one song I wanted him to play--the first song of his I ever heard, and one that makes a special kind of sense to me that even I don't quite understand--and I silently willed with all of my heart for two days straight that he would play this song at the concert. And wouldn't you know he made it the sole track of his second encore? He came out, he played it straight, he thanked us, and he said goodnight. Thank you, John. This is why I send you presents.

I want his songs to be the soundtrack for the rest of my days. Because I want to sail through the night sky like a pair of bottle rockets, and because I will walk down to the end with you if you will come all the way down with me, and because I will carry you home in my teeth, and because I am going to make it through this year if it kills me, and because god damn, the pirate's life for me.

I dare you not to love him.

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Songs can be heard here, here, and in the air around my head.

3 Comments

I agree. the bassist Peter is perfect. Well, almost perfect. He has some significant faults, but once those are iognored (or once one learns to accept them without ignoring them) he is pretty ok.

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