May 31, 201710:12 PM
The sounds that move the Crescent City
The Mountain Goats at Republic
Sometimes the best shows are accidental
all photos by mike griffith
One of the best things about live music is the unpredictable nature of an evening’s show. By all rights, Friday’s The Mountain Goats show at Republic had the potential to be a bit of a mess. The venue isn’t really known for indie folk and the early set had a firm time limit, as the floor had to be quickly cleared for a separate bill later in the evening. Despite these limitations The Mountain Goats show quickly turned into something rather special. Front man John Darnielle was in a particularly generous mood, making several references to the role that New Orleans has played in the development of American music and his awe of the city’s musical heritage. From there he launched into a wonderfully chatty set that paired tracks from the new record Goths with a host of favorites from his 25 plus year career. Generally, Mountain Goats’ sets will include a central portion where Darnielle will sing a few songs solo before he is rejoined by the band for the rest of the set. This night a stay comment from the crowd about an empty shot glass and a bit of encouragement from Darnielle led to his toasting the crowd with three shots of bourbon over the latter half of the show. It is fun to watch moments like this unfold, Darnielle was far from drunk and this was not the workman drinking that one expects from a rock band; rather it was a night out drinking with friends and for their part the crowd was perfect. A nearly full Republic was there to be with the Darnielle and his warm embrace of New Orleans and the evening led to a profound wave of good will punctuated by a three song sing-encore under the purported threat of being cut off by the venue. These moments are great. It was unlikely that Republic would cut off the encore, but even the possibility pulls the crowd together with the performers in a warm sense of solidarity that was already heightened by the earlier shared toasts. Darnielle declared the crowd to be one of his best ever and that only heightened the love. The first song of the encore “This Year” has taken on a bit more meaning for many with the uncertainty we currently face and the crowd was shouting along loud and clear. By the time they ripped into “Spent Gladiator 2” as the closing track everyone was rapt and singing along. These are the nights that become the most memorable and they are the reason that live music has the lasting power it does.
To Do This Week
Tonight check out Bonnie Bishop at One Eyed Jacks. Tomorrow the Free Friday show at Tips is Billy Iuso and Restless Natives, also Jmsn is at Gasa Gasa with Alcordo. On Saturday the New Orleans Oyster Festival has Bonerama and Flow Tribe. On Sunday they have Brass-A-Holics and Bag of Donuts. Monday check out Jared and the Mill at Gasa. Tuesday Jeff the Brotherhood is at Gasa and Crumb is at the Circle Bar. Wednesday Elizabeth Cook is at Chickie Wah Wah.
To Listen This Week
- Against Me! cover the Mountain Goats via CoS
- Check out the excellent Tiny Desk Concert by Royal Thunder via NPR
- The new Chastity Belt record is streaming over at NPR first listen