The Mountain Goats @ Fitzgerald’s
It had been a long time since the last time John Darnielle had stepped foot in Houston, some 6 years ago when The Mountain Goats played at Mary Jane’s Fat Cat, a former Houston staple that has long since been closed. That was very apparent throughout their Friday night headlining show at Fitzgerald’s when Darnielle mentioned numerous times how sorry he was for denying Houston an appearance. He more than made up for it that night, though, as he brought an unbridled energy throughout the entire set.
Read all about the show and check out some photos after the jump.
We arrived at Fitz about an hour before The Mountain Goats were supposed to go on only to find a long line wrapped around the building. After about a 20 minute wait just to get ID’d and get our tickets scanned, we finally made it upstairs in time for the last few songs of the opener. We jammed into the far left corner, and tried to get the best sightline for the headliner as well as easy access to the bar while the opener finished up their set. This was apparently the show of January, as every music nerd in town was packed into the upstairs venue on top of a large contingent of young kids whose attendance based on knowledge of the music was highly questionable. Soon, though, as The Mountain Goats took the stage, nothing really mattered anymore.
I can’t really recollect exactly what was played and in what order, but I loved every minute of the set. Being surrounded by friends and family, watching a band that has always meant so much to you, and having more than a few cocktails is always the recipe for concert memory loss. I do remember, though, a gorgeous take on “Love Love Love,” a solo section that featured both “Woke Up New” and the debut of a song entitled “Diaz Brothers,” great rhetoric about how they wouldn’t play “The Best Ever Death Metal Band In Denton” in the middle of the set in the State of Texas only to play it just a few songs later to close the set, and finally the encore that started with “No Children,” had a “This Year” sandwich and finished with “Houseguest,” a regular cover of theirs.
It was definitely one of the better shows I’ve seen in my day, and from the initial reactions from friends and others in the audience, it was a favorite for them too. I had only seen The Mountain Goats once before, last year at Austin City Limits in the dead head of the afternoon, and while that set was great, this one blew it out of the water. At the end of the night, as I stood with my sister waiting at the end of the line to meet John Darnielle and to get my new vinyl copy of The Sunset Tree signed, I thought of what I’d say to him, but couldn’t come up with anything more than “…I know it’s cliche, but your music has meant so much to me.” When I got up to the table to talk to him, before I could even finish, he stopped me and told me that, especially with a five month old child sitting at home while he was on tour, it doesn’t matter how many times he hears it, it means the world to him every single time.