This was my first opportunity to see Jeff Mangum and I jumped at the chance to see him by purchasing my ticket months before the show. Although this will not be his final tour, he does not plan to return to the same cities he has already played during this solo acoustic tour. This might explain his decision to play the quaint little Brooklyn Arts Center in downtown Wilmington.
The show was opened up by folk rock duo, Tall Firs. After their set, Jeff Mangum took the stage and the crowd was elated. His performance was very stripped-down with just his voice and guitar. Although he kept apologizing for having to ask his sound guy to continuously tweak the levels after every song (he admitted to skipping the sound check earlier that day) nobody really seemed to mind. I think his almost neurotic behavior about the quality of the sound made everyone appreciate him a little bit more. Jeff revisited songs from all of Neutral Milk Hotel’s albums including “On Avery Island,” “Everything Is,” and the most famous “In the Aeroplane Over the Sea.” His raw voice echoed off the refurbished cathedral ceilings while he carried out the last word to the lyrics “Can’t believe how strange it is to be anything at all,” sending chills down my spine.
Jeff would switch between a number of different acoustic guitars surrounding him on stage (I counted five) and you were able to hear a new perspective to the songs. With this raw performance, you could listen with a newfound appreciation for the lyrics. Jeff thanked the crowd several times throughout the evening for coming out to see him by explaining that he was still just used to just playing for his friends in a living room. Even though he has been playing these same songs for the past sixteen years, sometimes at huge venues, I get the feeling that this was the atmosphere he prefers. I can’t wait to experience another heart-felt performance from Jeff Mangum.
As always, the Triangle hosts some amazing shows coming up this week including our annual Double Barrel Benefit. To see the full list of shows for this area check out the Rock Report. Here’s some of the best of the best.
The Music Tapes is the experimental brain child of Julian Koster of Neutral Milk Hotel and Elephant 6 and more recently Robbie Cucchiaro. The music features many non-traditional instruments including banjos and singing saws just to name a few. Their latest effort off Merge entitled “Mary’s Voice,” was recorded in a carnival tent which seems to infiltrate the music. The shows will be performed in a larger version of this tent. This show promises to be one of the more unique shows that you will ever see.
If you know anything about garage rock, chances are you have heard the name Ty Segall. He has been a very busy man this past year. He released a solo album, as well as an album with the Ty Segall Band, and a third album with White Fence. Their seems to be no end to this young mastermind’s creative genius. In addition to these endeavors, he also managed to produce Ex-Cult’s brilliant debut who also makes the bill for this night. With the always amazing local favorites Gross Ghost opening, this show promises to be one of the hardest rocking and most energetic shows so far this year.
If you have yet to see Jeff Mangum, this is your chance. You never know which tour will be his last. Although some accuse him of still riding on the coattails of his now 15 year old fame when “In the Aeroplane Over the Sea” took the world by storm, seeing him live will change your mind. The pure, raw emotion he brings to the stage with just a guitar and his voice seems to breathe new life into these well aged songs. Make the drive, it will be well worth it.
Friday, February 1st- Double Barrel Benefit X Night 1: JKutcha and the Five Fifths, Lilac Shadows, Jenny Besetzt, The Lollipops at The Pour House , 10pm
Saturday, February 2nd- Double Barrel Benefit X Night 2: Spider Bags, Wesley Wolfe, Some Army, Oulipo at The Pour House , 10pm
Double Barrel Benefit speaks for itself. Over the past 10 years, Double Barrel has brought to Raleigh the best local music acts from across North Carolina. If the name doesn’t do enough for you just go ahead and check out more information on the line-up here. You don’t want to miss the 10th installment of Double Barrel Benefit.
This year’s Double Barrel features our second annual Day Party and Market. After its huge success last year at Tir na nOg, we decided to expand it next door to The Pour House as well. So come on out to check out some great local artisans and vendors selling their wares while enjoying some amazing local music.