There is one thing you’ll definitely notice when you see The Mountain Goats live in concert.
No, it’s not the quality of the musicianship or the way the band takes on many different forms throughout the night, changing size and composition and moving to John Darnielle solo and back again. That is certainly something to notice, but it’s not what I’m talking about.
It’s not the intense fans, either (the quote in the title above was actually shouted at the band by a fan in the audience on Tuesday). Many bands have a deeply interested core fan base, though other band’s fans are not shouting along to lines such as “Hail Satan” or “I hope we both die!”
It’s also not the wonderfully expressive lyrics — alternatively poetic and forceful — or the devious way in which the dark tales about people facing raw, difficult situations and emotions are commonly paired with upbeat, buoyant rhythms. These are other things that are very important and unique, but they’re not the ultimate takeaway.
The detail I now present as key is that the band is positively giddy while performing on stage every single night. I’ve seen them several times and it’s unvarying. John Darnielle’s enthusiasm while delivering his musical narratives (and associated hilarious witticisms in-between) is wonderfully invigorating. Whether he’s playing a half-empty concert hall or a packed festival main stage, his passion for performing and the force of his personality is contagious.
And that, friends, is the one thing I’m sure you’ll notice when you see the Mountain Goats live. Check them out when you get the chance — you won’t regret it.