Neutral Milk Hotel - Camden Roundhouse - Gigs - Reviews - Soundblab

Neutral Milk Hotel - Camden Roundhouse

by D R Pautsch Rating:10 Release Date:2012-05-23

Six or seven years ago I bought a friend of mine the Neutral Milk Hotel album, In the Aeroplane Over the Sea. If we are fortunate we all have that someone who we share a musical lexicon with and for me this was my friend. We discovered bands via each other so it was only the latest of these swaps. That he loved it wasn't a surprise.

When we heard that they were coming back to London after 15 years we bought our tickets. Sadly, life gets in the way and he wasn't there. So it was with a feeling of sadness yet expectation that I waited for the re-emergence of Jeff Mangum.

That is my tale. However, looking around The Roundhouse it was obvious that the word of mouth which has followed NMH since Mangum's disappearance had led to many similar stories. There were people who were old enough to discover this at the time and others who were barely out walking.

Mangum took to the left of the stage and looked more like a trucker from the deep south than a cult hero. As he launched into a solo rendition of 'Oh Comely', the realisation of those years of waiting came alive in a voice as strong now as it was then. Dressed in a jumper your granddad wouldn’t wear, trucker-style cap and sporting a beard, Mangum looked like he felt every moment of every song. 

He loosened up on numbers where his band joined him (such as 'Holland 1945', 'King of Carrot Flowers pt 1', 'A Baby for Pree' etc) to the point of smiling and throwing his guitar around. This was a man who led his band through music which caused pain and now was obviously doing the opposite. The band were tight and on several occasions flawlessly picked up from an acoustic start to give one hell of a noisy accompaniment. 

Highlights of the set included the show-stealing band number 'Two Headed Boy Pt1', the opening 'Oh Comely', encores of 'Engine' and 'Two Headed Boy Pt2' .The last closed the show in perfect solo form, with Mangum leaving us haunted by his voice and approach. Neutral Milk Hotel have only made two albums. This was a joyous celebration of those two.  

Comments (0)

There are no comments posted here yet
Related Articles
Neutral Milk Hotel - Camden Roundhouse - Gigs - Reviews - Soundblab
The Antlers - Hospice
  • 02/19/2019
  • By Tim Sentz