The Mountain Goats - Brudenell Social Club, Leeds UK - Gigs - Reviews - Soundblab

The Mountain Goats - Brudenell Social Club, Leeds UK

by Andy Brown Rating: Release Date:

There’s something reassuring about the success of idiosyncratic indie-folk act, The Mountain Goats. While not exactly a household name, the band has built up an ever-growing and passionate following. This weekend they’ve managed to sell out two consecutive nights at The Brudenell Social Club in Leeds with an in-store performance at Jumbo records for good measure.

Initially a solo project, the Goats started out with songwriter John Darnielle recording albums onto his trusty Panasonic RX-FT500 boombox. You don’t get much more ‘indie’ or ‘lo-fi’ than that. This year saw the band release their seventeenth studio album, a concept LP about tabletop role-playing games called In League with Dragons.

Massachusetts’s based folk act, Laura Cortese & the Dance Cards have joined the Goats out on tour. With double bass, cello and fiddle the trio fill the packed-out room with a joyous and rapturously received set that takes in traditional Appalachian folk, mesmerising harmonies and barn-dance worthy hoedowns. You honestly couldn’t ask for a better opening act.

Mountain Goat Matt Douglas joins them on stage for the gorgeous ‘Wait for Me’ , a song dedicated to a friend who died of cancer. There’s a real sense of warmth flowing through the band’s music, a desire for a genuine connection. The last song finds them stepping out in front of the monitors and encouraging the crowd to sing along; the whole room seems to come together.

You can still feel that sense of community when The Mountain Goats take to the stage. The girl to my left excitedly drumming on her knees and shouting when John Darnielle and Matt Douglas step out to the strains of Orleans’ 1975 pop-rock tune ‘Dance with Me’. We’re here for a good time and the Goats are more than happy to oblige.

“I feel so proud to be alive” sings Darnielle on the opening rush of ‘Heretic Pride’. Playing as a stripped-back duo The Mountain Goats seem perfectly at home here in the intimate surroundings of The Brudenell Social Club. They could clearly fill a larger venue but it just wouldn’t feel the same.

Darnielle switches between acoustic guitar and piano while the ever-flexible Douglas plays saxophone, piano keyboard and a little electric guitar. It feels more like one of those ‘an evening with’ TV specials then your standard gig. The next best thing to having them play in your front room.

The new material isn’t just quirky songs about Dungeons & Dragons, far from it. It’s just that Darnielle is more creative with his metaphors than most. Who else could write a song called ‘Clemency for the Wizard King’ and make it so ridiculously lovely? ‘Younger’ sounds gorgeous too, complimented as it is with some particularly smooth sax.

“See that young man who dwells inside his body like an uninvited guest?” sings Darnielle on a rather beautiful, piano reinterpretation of ‘Birth of Serpents’. To say Darnielle has a way with words would be the understatement of the century.

The whole set steps up a gear when The Dance Cards return to the stage; lending their rich, rustic instrumentation to a number of prime cuts from the new LP. The country swoon of ‘In League with Dragons’ is absolutely magnificent while the rollicking ‘Cadaver Sniffing Dog’ is dedicated to the Brudenell’s very own dog, Charlie.

Like hometown heroes returning for one last show, the Brudenell really has taken this band to heart. The duo clearly loves it here too, Darnielle beaming throughout. A huge, now traditional, singalong to the cathartic ‘No Children’ and an endlessly hopeful and triumphant ‘This Year’ seal the deal. The Brudenell is now officially The Mountain Goats second home. Come back soon guys!

Comments (0)

There are no comments posted here yet
Related Articles
The Mountain Goats - Brudenell Social Club, Leeds UK - Gigs - Reviews - Soundblab
The Mountain Goats - Goths
  • 05/18/2017
  • By Jon Burke