Under his Mountain Goats moniker, John Darnielle has produced an inspiring body of work, and he’s on engaging form tonight – joking with the audience, telling stories, and visiting just about all corners of his voluminous discography. Yet a mild disappointment colours the evening – or perhaps it’s a feeling of opportunities lost.
For one thing, The Arches proves ill-suited to an all-seated, acoustic gig in which there are few sounds remotely loud enough to disguise the rumbling of trains overhead (though this does produce one nicely atmospheric moment, adding dramatic backing thunder to Ezekiel 7’s stormy narrative). Then there’s the brevity of the performance: with a corpus as rich as Darnielle’s, wrapping up the encore by 9:45 seems miserly. Still, with heart and soul bared on peaks like You Were Cool and No Children it’s easy to look past the frustrations, ensuring we leave with a lump in the throat rather than a bad taste in the mouth.