The thing about an artist who is personable and charismatic is that every fan wants to be his friend. Everyone wants to make that special connection and be remembered by him. I understand. Everyone wants to be loved.
John Darnielle did an in-store performance last night at Easy Street Records to kick off the release of The Mountain Goats’ latest album Get Lonely. In between every song he would treat the crowd to a little story or anecdote about the song or something completely unrelated to music and in between every song it seemed like someone in the crowd would shout something out to him. He didn’t seem to mind that people wanted to participate in his performance but I got tired of it fairly quickly. It got kinda bad when this one guy in the front wouldn’t stop trying to converse with him and the people in the crowd told him, in no uncertain terms, to “shut the fuck up”. I also had one of the giddiest fanboys next to my mics so every time John made any kind of joke you will hear this high pitched giggle as he bursts out in lady-like laughter. Seriously, this guy thought John Darnielle was the funniest man alive.
And, to be fair, he’s pretty funny. He paces his sentences in the same manner that Mitch Hedberg did; sort of oddly accentuating certain phrases or words. He gets more excited and boisterous than Hedberg ever did, though.
In addition to being funny, he’s a damn fine songwriter. I’ve never really listened to The Mountain Goats before but now that I’ve seen John play live, I’m more inclined to check them out than I was before. His songs are sincere and straight-forward and sort of remind me of Ben Gibbard (and I know Mountain Goats fans would crucify me for saying that but whatever).
The recording itself turned out nice. It’s very hard to tape in-stores at Easy Street because they usually book acoustic acts and it’s never very loud. In the case of John Darnielle, he would go from near-silent to really-fucking-loud within one song so it was hard to guage the levels. The audience cheers clip like hell but I don’t care. The actual music sounds fine and I don’t think you’ll be disappointed.