It wasn’t until this year that I found out that the Mountain Goats are kind of a huge deal. Much like Mates of State, I kind of assumed they flew below the radar because none of my close circle of friends ever really talked about them or listened to them. Well the last in a series of things that tipped me off to John Darnielle’s indie rock stardom was his performance at Pitchfork. The crowd absolutely went nuts for him, and hung on his every word.
John tore through tunes like “Dance Music” in the mid-afternoon sun. Now when I say “tore through,” I don’t mean that he seemed rushed; he even took time to tell funny stories and make jokes about things only music nerds would find funny (like how he insisted that the first 10 pressings of his first 7″ were on clear vinyl). But rather that each song was packed with so much energy that it was impossible not to be drawn into his world.
I’ll admit it, I was one of the handful of people in attendence who didn’t know the words to the apparently seldom-played “Cubs in Five,” but I became a quick fan.