Tag Archives: Bowery Ballroom

I saw The Mountain Goats last night and Craig Finn was there

I first heard the Mountain Goats on KTRU. Or perhaps someone was playing them on her iPod at Coffeehouse. I forget. Though I suppose I didn’t really appreciate them until I heard their songs on Moral Orel. But either way, they’ve been in my usual playlists for a while, and I finally got to see them live last night.

I didn’t think it was a big deal, until I saw that Tim Faust had linked a YouTube video of the concert.

Now, if Tim Faust likes it, it must be gold. So I feel special today for having gone to the show.

The show was pretty darn good. Looking around at the young, white, hip but not entirely hipster crowd, I knew what it was to be a member of a demographic that was driving pop-culture and musical trends.

Anyways, it was at the Bowery Ballroom, which is a comfortably large, yet still intimate space. The layout is somewhat funny, because you walk into an underground bar, and there is no actual sign indicating where the stage is. After bumming around with a $7 beer, I watched what I assumed were some stagehands going into a small door that looked like a maintenance closet. But then more people kept walking in, with no one leaving the supposed closet. I decided to follow, leading up a flight of wooden stairs that culminated at a room teeming with headbobbing 20-somethings enjoying the bearded country meets deathmetal tunes of Megafaun. (Wikipedia calls them Freak Folk).

At the end of the show, the Megafaun guys were hanging out next to the extremely long coat check line, just chatting it up with fans and whatnot. They seemed very laid back and like generally nice guys.

Several minutes after Megafaun wrapped up, The Mountain Goats took their sweet time to get on stage. They really didn’t take that long, and maybe I just don’t know how much time is required to change the stage between performers, but it seems like bands could really improve their turnaround time. I mean, it isn’t like there is some big surprise that they’re going on.

What? We’re playing? Oh man, and I was in my pajamas. And I just started the boss battle on Pokemon, let me just wrap this up and then we can go play.”

Then again, maybe it is some sort of psychological thing, letting the musical palate of the audience cleanse a bit before going out.

Whatever the reason, it was worth the wait. Any concerns I had about not enjoying their newer songs were dashed by the fact that even if I did not know them, the songs were still good. Apologies to the big guy in front of me and the girl to my right for any dance-related bumpings.

Throughout the show, teen girls in the audience (it was a 21 and up show, but I could have sworn it was teen girls) were constantly yelling songs for the Mountain Goats to sing. The yelling started at the very beginning of the show, prompting one person to respond: “Too soon!” However, it became a trend throughout the night, with people just yelling song names, or “Freebird,” or “song title!” But the guys on stage took it in stride.

I suppose the real pinnacle of the show was when Craig Finn from the Hold Steady joined the Mountain Goats on stage to sing “This Year.” (Note the video above).

(Admittedly, I didn’t know who he was, and for a second thought that he may have been Jason Alexander. After all, Alexander is a fantastic singer, and no one can fault his amazing performance in Dunston Checks In.)

Of course, The Mountain Goats closed with “No Children” for their second encore. The audience sang along to the sad tunes, an audience of youngsters joined in an expression of failure. And sometimes that is all our generation has to show for itself. Failure.