Oregon Music News: Oregon’s all-genre music magazine since 2009


The Mountain Goats at the McDonald Theater, Eugene 09/07/19 / Review

By C. Francis O'Leary // Mountain Goats in Oregon sing about wrestling and Goths. A new album and TWO Portland concerts. John Darnielle and friends visit your neighborhood. 

You’d think an album inspired by Dungeons & Dragons would be tough to rock out to, but John Darnielle, singer/songwriter of the Mountain Goats, headbanging to the tune of Sicilian Crest would beg to differ. The Mountain Goats played to a nearly sold-out crowd at the McDonald Theater in Eugene, OR on Sept 7. Portland can look forward to the indie-folk band playing their city on Sept 9, followed by a sold out show on Sept 10.

Over 28 years, 17 studio albums, a novel and two seasons of a popular podcast, Darnielle has been relentless in creating, developing and maintaining his voice.

The newest album, In League with Dragons was released April of this year. Like the two previous releases – Beat the Champ (2015), which focused on the world of professional wrestling Darnielle idolized as a youth; and Goths (2017), about, you know, goths – In League with Dragons had a theme. The cover art, which features an armor-clad figure facing a fire-breathing dragon, only hints at what Darnielle imagines a hero is. Though there are songs with titles like “Clemency for the Wizard King,” there are also songs about washed-up athletes and former superstars. The connection, Darnielle said during the album announcement livestream is that, just like fallen wizards, has-been celebrities used to be magic too

At the Saturday night performance, Darnielle was in his element. The crowd alternated between bobbing joyously and rocking left to right somberly depending on the sing – a testament to Darnielle’s songwriting. Between songs, the performer cracked jokes and told anecdotes about the inspirations for songs, including dedicating one song to the people he used to do speed with in the 80s. For several songs mid-set, the rest of the band left the stage and Darnielle performed alone – for a venue with hundreds of people in it, the result was a surprisingly intimate experience.

Those who missed the Mountain Goats in Eugene on Sept 7 should try to catch them at either of their upcoming shows in Portland. The band will be at McMenamins Crystal Ballroom Sept 9. Doors 6:30 All ages $31. Followed by a sold out show on Sept 10 at the Aladdin Theater Doors at 7 All ages. To keep up with the Mountain Goats, follow on Twitter @Mountain_Goats or Insta @mountaingoatsmusic or listen to the podcast “I Only Listen to the Mountain Goats,” which Darnielle hosts with superfan Joseph Fink.

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