You’re goddamn right I did!
On monday night, I saw John Vanderslice and The Mountain Goats…er…Goat…er…John Darnielle at Oberlin College, and it was the shit.
Things started with kelly and I getting hungry before the show, so we went into the cafeteria in Oberlin’s Wilder Hall. The line to get food was completely baffling, but we figured out where we were supposed to stand right as a man and a woman were figuring out the same. “Are you first?” I asked.
“No, I think you guys were. Go ahead,” said the man.
Suddenly, I recognized the man as John Vanderslice! He let me in line ahead of him!
I didn’t say anything to him, as he was trying to eat. (BTW…the service at the cafeteria is kind of slow, but the food is great for cafeteria food! Worth the wait.)
At 9:30, the doors to the venue opened, and the masses slowly poured in, eventually filling the tiny room. I bought some merch (A t-shirt and the CD Zopilote Machine for me, a copy of The Sunset Tree for Kelly), and Kelly bought us beer (Some Sunset something or other for Kelly, and a $3.50 Samuel Smith’s Nut Brown for me). I introduced myself to a fellow member of The Mountain Goats Forums, and prepared to get my face rocked off by some accoustic folk rock!
John Vanderslice hit the stage and did not dissappoint. I’ll admit that I am not extremely familiar wit his stuff. I Have two of his albums (Pixel Revolt and Emerald City,) so I recognized several songs, but not all of them. Still, JV on stage sounds exactly like JV in the studio. He gave some charming and funny stage banter and had the techs play with the lights. All in all, a good time and worth the price of admission alone.
Next, The Mountain Goats came on. This was an absolutely brilliant performance, with some of the funniest stage banter I’ve seen since Robyn Hitchcock.
According to Peter from the afformentioned forum, the set list was:
love love love
fall of the running back
absolute lithops effect
craters on the moon
raid on entebbe
old college try
woke up new
spilling toward alpha
jv moon song (same one as at both mass shows)
jd moon song (again, same one)
color in your cheeks
Oh, yes, “No Children” rocked. So hard. I was glad to hear “This Year,” “Old College Try,” “Fall of the High School Running Back” and “In the Craters of the Moon.” The performance and my proximity to the stage made this possibly the best show I’ve ever been to. For reals.
After the show, I talked to JV for a short time and thanked him for letting me cut him in line. I got my copy of “Emerald City” autographed, then decided to track own John Darnielle.
He was hanging out behind the bar, serving himself a beer. I sat down and tried to order a Newcastle off of him. Then, after he walked to the merch table, I thanked him for a great show and had him sign my copy of his 33 1/3 book, Master of Reality. He signed it “Jason-Generals are gathered in their masses…but that’s another album-John Darnielle.” I told him that that meant a lot to me because “War Pigs” has become “my” karaoke song for my bi-weekly karaoke nights. Then, I pondered trying to have a conversation with him, in which I would have turned into a total spaz, or to just walk away. I decided to quit while I was ahead.
The surprising thing is that people (including John Darnielle himself) often say that JD is really nervous and introverted around people, but on monday, he seemed calm and cool. Very cool.
Kelly later went up and got his autograph, too, and I wandered a little. John Vanderslice walked past, patted me on the shoulder and said ” See ya, Jason!” Classy.
On our way put, John Darnielle said goodbye to Kelly, the looked at me and said, “Thanks again…it was Jason, right?”
I responded, “Yeah! Thank you…it was John, right?”
He smiled and said, “Yeah, yeah…I’m John.”
A perfect end to a perfect show.