One of the first must-see shows of 2011 came to town last week, as John Darnielle and the Mountain Goats played to a sold-out crowd at Crowbar in Ybor City.
Max Asayesh-Brown from our sister publication, tb-two*, was there, and he writes:
Darnielle parades onto the stage in jeans and a blazer studded with patches and pins proclaiming messages such as "TRUST WOMEN," followed by a drummer and a bassist, both notably adept at their crafts. Despite the plural stage name, often times Darnielle stands alone in his music — indeed, for a brief stretch in the middle of the show his helpers desert him without a word.
The Mountain Goats also embrace simplicity. Darnielle's voice isn't unique; his sound is. It's more of a reminder of normal people's voices, collected but without the need for copious sound editing, rooted to his talent and smarts. In comparison with his CDs, what you hear is what you get. The let-down feeling of the CD sounding much neater than the live performance is not a variable at this show.