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The Mountain Goats/Bright Eyes at The House of Blues, Cleveland, OH, 08-02-11 by jason
August 3, 2011, 2:46 pm
Filed under: Shows | Tags: ,

I’m going to be straight here…I went to this show to see the Mountain Goats. I don’t dislike Bright Eyes, but I’m not a huge fan either. Therefore, even though the Mountain Goats were the opening act, this will be a pretty Goat-centric posting.

So yeah. The Mountain Goats at the House of Blues in Cleveland. I have to tell you, I don’t love House of Blues as a venue. it tries to be cool and hip by embracing blues, but it’s a chain. It’s the Denny’s of music venues. That said, my seat in the Balcony was surprisingly good, and they had Dortmunder Gold at the bar, so I can’t complain too much.

Before the show began, an announcer explained where the fire exits were and hilariously warned the audience that moshing was not permitted. While moshing at a Mountain Goats show might be THE MOST AWESOME THING EVER, it’s not going to happen.

Then, The Mountain Goats hit the stage. I’ve seen the Mountain Goats before, but that time, it was just John Darnielle and his guitar. This time, he was backed by Peter Hughes on bass and Jon Wurster on drums. The energy these guys have was amazing. John looked like there was some sort of feral beast trying to burst out of him (for an example of this, look up the video of his performance of “9 Black Poppies” from a few years ago).


I couldn’t have asked for a better set list:

Wild Sage
Slow West Vultures
Birth of Serpents
Jeff Davis County Blues
Southwood Plantation Road
Damn These Vampires
Psalms 40:2
You or Your Memory
Palmcorder Yajna
For Charles Bronson
No Children
This Year

John regaled the audience with his usual stage banter (At one point, he said something like “I wish I has technology like in the video games…like in Rainbow Six…where I had a tiny camera in my glasses that could hone in on that one guy who yelled ‘WOOOOOO!’ in the middle of my guitar solo and made me feel amazing, because if I had that technology, I would ask him what song he wanted to hear next. But I can’t do that, so I’ll play ‘This Year’ instead!”).

To close the set, John climbed into the audience and sang “Houseguest” directly to several of the fans, which, while a little creepy, was completely frickin’ rad at the same time.

Bright Eyes was next. I really don’t know his music, and I haven’t really listened to anything of his since I’m Wide Awake, It’s Morning, so I was expecting him to be quiet and frail. My ringing ears are a testament to my underestimation. It was a great show, even though I only recognized a few of the songs (like “Lua” and “June on the West Coast,” which I know primarily through Pandora). Towards the end of the show, Connor did some crowd surfing, and The Mountain Goats came out to add percussion on a rocking version of “I’m Wide Awake, It’s Morning (Road to Joy)”

Bright Eyes, preparing to rock out.

This Connor Oberst was the Mr. Hyde to the Dr. Jeckyll I was expecting. He jumped around, screamed, cursed, and was basically rock n’ roll.

Overall, it was a great show. Excellent performances by all, great seats, and some guy recognised the shirt I helped design. Self-promotion high-five!


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