Saturday, December 18, 2010

The Mountain Goats, Veelee & Phil Cook bring tidings of comfort & joy to King's

Attracted by a combination of charity, cake, booze, and King’s Barcade’s best lineup since Hopscotch, people packed in to go Brome for the Holidays.

The show opened up with a rare performance by Phil Cook’s one man band, Phil Cook and his Feat. Cook, with guitar in hand and a kick drum at his feet, was calm and patient in his set. His smooth guitar playing combine with his humble demeanor made his music all the more comforting.

When explaining the backstory behind how he first feel in love with the French Christmas carol “Bring a Torch, Jeanette, Isabella,” his excitement to share the music he loves most shone through.

Veelee fought through some technical issues early, but they way they played, nothing could stop them. By the second and third songs, their bombastic beats shook the stage enough to knock a monitor off an amp.

Surely the cold night was still fresh in the minds of the audience, but they were beginning to warm up and a few were dancing. Veelee quickly went from one song to the next, stopping only to introduce themselves, talk to the sound guy, and thank the audience before giving way to the headline act.

The word was that this was supposed to be a solo Mountain Goats show, but when drummer Jon Wurster stepped on stage to set up, the full band surprise was revealed. The guy standing behind me said it well, “This is a treat, a fucking treat.”

John Darnielle opened with an eight song solo set. When Darnielle is solo, you never know what he’ll play from the vast catalog in his mind. At Brome, he played what he described as “old ass songs.” About “Some Swedish Trees” he said, “If this song were a child I had when I had written this song, that child could now vote.”

Whether by himself or with the full band, Darnielle has the most joyful stage presence. Foot stomps, power stances, and in particular his facial expressions reveal how happy he is on stage. It’s impossible not to get caught up in it. Even when his humor is dark, like when he hopped off the stage to caress various fans during “Houseguest,” it’s all in fun.

The funniest moment of the night began with a request for Christmas music. Bassist Peter Hughes fulfilled that request by playing a dirge-like rendition of “Jingle Bells.” Later, the band covered “Merry Christmas from the Family” despite Hughes and Wurster never having played the song before. It was pretty sloppy so they closed with “Palmcorder Yajna” to finish the night strong.

Despite being at a bar, this show felt a little bit like coming into somebody’s home. It was joyful and comforting. It’s hard to explain. Maybe part of it was the graciousness of the bands and audience or the Christmas decor. Maybe it was Brad Cook talking about his family between sets or Grayson Currin in his pajamas. Whatever it was, for one night, it felt like we were all Brome.

Phil Cook and His Feat set list
No Title
Tattler (Washington Philips cover)
D.L.’s Holler
Bring a Torch, Jeanette, Isabella (Traditional French carol)
No Title
? (“For Kyle”)

Veelee set list
Blood’s Sake
Not Getting Nowhere
When You Gonna Come Home?
Animal Dreams

The Mountain Goats set list
[John Darnielle Solo]
Color in Your Cheeks
Some Swedish Trees
No, I Can’t
Nine Black Poppies
You Were Cool
[Full Band]
Old College Try
Romans 10:9
Going to Georgia
Heretic Pride
Dance Music
Hast Thou Considered the Tetrapod?
This Year
Peter Hughes hilarious renditions of Jingle Bells, Rudolph the Red Nose Reindeer, and Silent Night
Houseguest (Nothing Painted Blue cover)
Best Ever Death Metal Band Out of Denton
No Children
Merry Christmas from the Family (Robert Earl Keen cover)
Palmcorder Yajna

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