While The Mountain Goats’ music contains somber themes, the concert on October 18, 2012 at the House of Blues was a jubilant event. Lead singer John Darnielle was endearing for the entirety of the performance.
The opener Matthew E. White did not have the charisma of Darnielle, but his set was noteworthy. In stark contrast with The Mountain Goats lyrically charged songs, White’s vocal styling was an afterthought; his voice was barely audible over the conglomeration of instruments. Matthew E. White and his talented seven-person band was a successful opening act, energizing the crowd for The Mountain Goats.
The Mountain Goats’ set began with “Love Love Love”. Vivacity was evident in the initial moments; it was clear the performance would be mesmerizing.
The band played seven songs from their new album, Transcendental Youth, but never once discussed its recent release. The Mountain Goats let it promote itself by playing the remarkable songs featured on the album, including the exceptional “Amy aka Spent Gladiator 1” and “In Memory of Satan”.
During “In Memory of Satan” and several other songs, the band had the brass trio from Matthew E. White’s band on stage, adding another dimension to the music. While most of the show featured the entire band, a portion of the concert consisted exclusively of John Darnielle.
Darnielle’s unaccompanied songs were the most inspiring of the concert. “You Were Cool” incontestably stood out, enthralling the audience. Since The Mountain Goats originated as a solo project it was delightful to see Darnielle return to his roots.
The other optimal moment of the show was the second song of the encore, “This Year”. The effervescent rendition of the song cannot be replicated; it was performed flawlessly.
Since the encore featuring “This Year” was such an immaculate ending to an exceptional show, no one was disappointed by the show ending without The Mountain Goats playing “No Children”. The houselights went on and the crowd began to file out.
To everyone’s surprise, with the houselights still on, the band emerged onstage and went on to play three more songs, including “No Children”. Its dismal theme of divorce is discussed in a brilliantly upbeat manner. The song was impeccable; it could not have been better.
As he has shown with songs such as “No Children”, John Darnielle has the ability to take disheartening subject matters and transform them into captivating songs. It is a feat he has truly mastered; causing The Mountain Goats to be an exceptional live band.