On April 8, the Cat’s Cradle was bursting with excitement as two local legends came home to play together in one epic evening. That night the lucky few who managed to get their hands on a ticket (the show sold out weeks in advance) got the opportunity to see the North Carolina-grown bands: Megafaun and The Mountain Goats. I arrived a bit late, just in time to see Megafaun play their last two songs. Even though those two songs were fantastic, I was disappointed to have missed the majority of their set, but I arrived just in time to see what I came for: John Darnielle and The Mountain Goats.
I doubt that even some of the most devoted Mountain Goats fans present could have anticipated just how fantastic of a show it was going to be. There were literally too many great moments to list, but I’ll do my best to outline the highlights. The show consisted of a healthy mix of tracks off of the new album and old classics. Before playing ‘Birth of Serpents,’ John told a short story regarding the origin of the song. He talked about a time where he recently went to Portland and tried to reconnect with an old friend, only to find that his friend had been run over by a car and died the previous year. The audience fell to a hush and listened with an impenetrable attentiveness as the stage erupted in a cavalcade of emotion and sound.
As with most Mountain Goats shows, there was a segment in the middle where the band left the stage and John did a solo set. The set began with someone in the audience shouting, “play My Favorite Things,” to which John shrugged, said ok, and launched into a funny unreleased track about Coltrane. The show carried on with songs about vampires, women with mystical powers, and crystal meth.
For the last song of their set, The Mountain Goats asked Megafaun to join them on stage. Both bands, accompanied by just about the entire audience, performed ‘This Year,’ and it seemed as if the entire Cat’s Cradle was pulsing to the beat of the song. The band then returned for a four song encore, which included the fan favorite ‘No Children’ and ended with the entire crowd chanting “Hail Satan!” as they closed with ‘The Best Ever Death Metal Band in Denton.’
But that wasn’t all. The band then returned to the stage for a second encore and played “California Song,” during which John left the stage for the night giving the other members of the band a chance to flex their skills. The show made for a truly magical night and is a memory that will surely be cherished by each and every fan that had the opportunity to make it that evening.