The Mountain Goats show at the Music Hall of Williamsburg was a quick affair...

The Mountain Goats show at the Music Hall of Williamsburg was a quick affair, and when I walked out on to North 6th Street an hour and fifteen minutes after John Darnielle had taken the stage, I was sure my watch was wrong. The seventeen songs flew by with a minimum of muss or fuss, and Darnielle still managed to connect with the audience and throw some stage banter in to the set.

Darnielle performed the first half of the set solo, playing tracks like “Whole Wide World” and “Against Agamemnon,” the latter of which was preceded by an introduction that lasted longer then the song itself. The entire solo set was composed of older material, and the well-behaved crowd sang lustily along with “Going to Port Washington” and “Dance Music.”

The second half was devoted mostly to tracks from the latest album, “Heretic Pride,” which features a fuller and more up-tempo sound than previous efforts. “Michael Myers Resplendent” was delightfully creepy, and the closer, “Lovecraft in Brooklyn,” was loaded with smart sci-fi references.

When he came back for the encore, Darnielle explained that he was sick and asked the audience to sing “No Children” for him, a request that they gleefully filled. The crowd kept right on singing, providing a nice chorus for “Best Ever Death Metal Band Out of Denton.”

Darnielle has been writing and playing long enough to have his live show down to a science, but it never feels formulaic. He has the rare ability to move the set along withoutmaking the proceedings feel rushed, and last night’s show was one of best I’ve seen in a long time.

Set list:
Solo:
1. Whole Wide World
2. Jeff Davis County Blues
3. Color In Your Cheeks
4. Against Agamemnon
5. The Recognition Scene
6. Going to Houston
7. Going to Port Washington
8. One Fine Day (Carol King cover)
9. Dance Music
With band:
10. Michael Myers Resplendent
11. Marduk T-Shirt Men’s Room Incident
12. In the Craters on the Moon
13. 13. Love Love Love
14. September 15th 1983
15. Lovecraft in Brooklyn

Encore:
No Children
Best Ever Death Metal Band Out of Denton

Questions? Comments? Let us know: @billboard

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