Words by Michael J. Bultman

New York City — “Give me my note. I usually have perfect pitch, New York City…” The Mountain Goat’s front man, singer, poet, songwriter, guitarist, stand-up comedian John Darnielle came on stage in his bare feet and a sport coat – the Ivy Leaguer meets John Lennon – and opened his band’s three night stay at the Bowery Ballroom, turning the venue into a lecture hall, a poetry club and a high school classroom without sacrificing any of its rock n’ roll atmosphere.

The Goats, Peter Hughes on bass, Yuval Semo on keyboards and guitar and Jon Wurster on drums, ripped through 23 songs behind John Darnielle with the starkest highs and lows ever found at a rock show.


Darnielle told the audience, after several swigs of Old Grandad Whiskey, “This song is about people who have their priorities in the right places. Namely: me and my girlfriend in high school,” before “Broom People”, the first of many clever song introductions. Continuing the theme of full transparency, he later admitted, “It is certainly the most pretentious thing on earth to name your song after a Leo Tolstoy short story, but here I am,” before “Family Happiness”.

There was singing, but there was also a great deal of talking at the Bowery this Monday. Shouting, too. For nearly three hours, the crowd begged and cawed, and hemmed and hawed for the songs they came to hear; finally the loudest calls were answered. Favorites, “Going to Georgia” and “No Children” highlighted the first encore before Darnielle began another monologue, saying, “This song is not a regular appearer on our set lists… Oh no. That’s not a real word. OK I need to apologize to all my English professors by name. Here goes,” before naming his full list of educators and beginning the song, “Ontario”.

The Mountain Goats played three fantastic nights in the Lower East Side before heading to Boston, Ithaca, and Ontario, continuing support of their most recent album, All Eternals Deck.

1. Liza Forever Minnelli
2. Southwood Plantation Road
3. Broom People
4. Birth of Serpents
5. Estate Sale Sign
6. Seeing Daylight

7. Going to Port Washington
8. High Hawk Season

9. Dilaudid
10. You Were Cool

Yuval Semo on Piano returns to stage:
11. Outer Scorpion Squadron

Mountain Goats Return
12. Jeff Davis County Blues
13. Prowl Great Cain
14. Family Happiness
15. Damn These Vampires
16. Elijah
17. This Year

18. Baboon
19. Going to Georgia
20. Ontario
21. No Children
2nd Encore
22. Plain (Silkworm cover)
23. Palmcorder Yajna


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