Band electrifies indie crowd
John Darnielle, guitarists, keyboardist and lead singer of The Mountain Goats, said it best on Friday night, “Some artists would use stencils, but they’re just posers.”
It speaks to not only the oddly-hipster style of the band, but even more so to the quality and care that the members put into all their work — their shows in particular.
Whether it was the get-to-know-your-neighbor venue style or the lackadaisical nature of the artists — probably both, honestly — the set Friday night at Fitzgerald’s was incredible.
Opening up with Nurses was a brilliant move on the part of The Mountain Goats.
Portland-based Nurses complemented the often deconstructed tone The Goats put on with their tight and oddly-distinctive drumbeats.
Their first few songs felt a bit like an unplugged OneRepublic, but it quickly morphed into a catchy Portland, indie style with the unique mix of interweaving synthesizers and keyboards.
Singer Aaron Chapman’s finely tuned falsetto only added to their charm.
The main attraction completely dominated the night, of course.
Walking on stage to an unseen piano introduction in their untailored and unbuttoned suits, The Mountain Goats, consisting of Darnielle, bassist Peter Hughes and drummer Jon Wurster, caused an uproar.
Hailing from Clarmont, Calif., Darnielle has been keeping the band afloat since 1991.
His experience behind the microphone translated directly into his ease and comfort on stage, not even thinking about breaking into a story about how he wanted to make thousands of custom LP covers for his fans.
He was unabashed in telling the audience to shut up or say how he genuinely really liked Houston despite what “trash” other Texans may say about our city.
Darnielle and his songs have a way of making someone extremely cheerful, that is, until that person actually listens to the lyrics of the songs.
The album “Sunset Tree,” the most acclaimed of their extensive repertoire, chronicles the child abuse Darnielle suffered from his alcoholic stepfather in a disturbingly pleasant way.
Their songs range from reflective acoustic ones to peppy keyboard and bass combos.
Of course, all have a unique and purposefully amateur charm to them. Each is like a short story set to song; the lyrics are the most important quality of this band’s music.
The intimacy of the show really electrified the already uncommonly excited indie crowd.
Favorites like “Ever Death Metal Band Out of Denton,” “No Children,” and “This Year” brought the crowds to an impressively hard to illicit back-and-forth sway.
By the encore, Darnielle was having such a good time that he went out into the crowd and embraced the heads of a few lucky fans.
Overall, both bands gave a spectacular show that definitely merits a second or even a third purchase.