The Mountain Goats – Concert Review

The Mountain Goats – Concert Review

Concert Review
The Mountain Goats
New Haven, CT – 4.2.2016

The Mountan Goats

The Mountan Goats

As I filed into the impressive old-school trappings of the College Street Music Hall in New Haven, CT, it dawned on me how far we have come….or maybe fallen. I’m speaking of Mountain Goats fans. If you’re one, All Hail. If you’re not, you’re behind the 8 Ball. “I Only Listen to The Mountain Goats” isn’t a t-shirt. It’s a real condition we live with. It’s a particularly fine-tuned, self-obsession that brings one to The Mountain Goats. A real alienation, a real belief that all your real friends live in speakers and headphones, and are likely people you will never meet. It was an army of freaks who only came together when the Goat Signal shined in places too small and packed with followers who knew every word.  Genius lyricist, John Darnielle, is driving and we’re all just on his trip.

I’ve watched the full band line up (John Darnielle, drummer Jon Wurster, multi-instrumentalist Matt Douglas and old stand-by, Peter Hughes on bass) develop since they added Wurster and what they have become is a unique, powerful unit.  The recent addition, Matt Douglas on sax, clarinet, keyboard and guitar, seems to finally drop that last missing element into the mix. Playing to a nearly sold out audience, this was the best representation of the Mountain Goats as a band I’ve seen. Bringing real blood to songs previously cast as scratchy solo cast-off mixes, they pounded into songs like “The First Few Desperate Hours” and “New Monster Avenue” with ferocity. Then, aching and whisper quiet, into a big room of thrilled and silent people, for versions of “Get Lonely” and “Stabbed to Death Outside Of San Juan”. Though they began with some sound issues, by the time they hit the third song “Maize Stalk Drinking Blood”, they started ratcheting up the tension, the sound, the intensity. “Intensity”, being the theme of a funny song intro by Darnielle rating the intensity of drug and drug infused, window smashing kicks against the Casavettes-film style intensity of spending two days in The Holiday In Express in King Of Prussia, PA.

During the expected mid-set acoustic solo, John did an acapella version of an unreleased song, “Wizard Level”.  It was moving, with the crowd hushed as he kept a simple beat with chest hand-tapping. This was a classic Mountain Goats moment and a reason they get so deep into people’s hearts. It’s a trust between artist and audience. Though at moments, it almost seems like a relationship between dealer and addict. And anything less intense is bullshit.

By the encores – 2 of them – the crowd (or cult, as they’ve been characterized) had risen from their seats and rushed to the front of the venue to be as close to their leader as possible.  And with the final notes of “Spent Gladiator 2”, the crowd filed into the rainy night, perfectly satisfied and forward-thinking to the next gathering.

William Tyler opened the show with some brilliant acoustic guitar playing that was hypnotic and absolutely compelling. When I finally got home, it was his videos I couldn’t turn off. Check him out.

BONUS: taped the show from the soundboard.  You can download in multiple for mats!


Photo Gallery –


Set List:

Woke Up New

Until I Am Whole

Maize Stalk Drinking Blood

Damn These Vampires

See America Right

Sometimes I Still Feel the Bruise  (Trembling Blue Stars cover)

Stabbed to Death Outside San Juan



You’re in Maya

From TG&Y

Wizard Level (A cappella)

Ezekiel 7 and the Permanent Efficacy of Grace

Get Lonely

New Monster Avenue

First Few Desperate Hours

Oceanographer’s Choice

The Young Thousands



No Children

Up the Wolves

This Year



Spent Gladiator 2

Jason p Krug

Jason p Krug is a singer songwriter who  released his first solo record, “The Zen of Losing”, April 1, 2016.   Follow his blog, “How to Diagram a Human Heart”, at

Smart. Carnal. Original. Timeless.


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