Friday, April 20, 2012

The Mountain Goats, Mac McCaughan & Greg Cartwright rally to fight Amendment One

Photos by Justin Weber
What happened in Durham at Motorco April 19, 2012, will live on in legend. Greg Cartwright, John Darnielle and Mac McCaughan pulled out all the stops for a truly unique concert benefiting Protect All NC Families in the fight against Amendment One.

The three titans of the North Carolina music scene traded off playing songs one by one while the other two sat on a couch on stage. I’ve never seen a show with a more comfortable atmosphere. It encouraged the musicians to banter back and forth and jump into each others songs in unexpected moments.

The night was full of requests as the event was centered around people paying to hear particular songs. This led to some rare treats: McCaughan singing “Swimming Through Tires” and “Like a Pearl” for the first time live, Darnielle covering Iron Maiden, Darnielle performing “High Hawk Season” and the crowd filling in the male choir parts, and Cartwright debuting a rocking new tune (“Come a Little Closer”).

Darnielle was particularly adamant about these performances being special for the people at the show. The songs belonged to the North Carolinians who donated money to the cause, not to Youtube, he said.

The funniest moment of the night came after a fan requested “Fault Lines,” but Darnielle couldn’t remember the lyrics. A fan pulled up the lyrics on his phone and handed it to Darnielle. Halfway through the song, Darnielle stopped cold, “Wait, I have to scroll.”

What really brought the house down was Greg Cartwright improvising blues licks over Darnielle’s songs. Cartwright first jumped in on "Transjordanian Blues" and Darnielle was ecstatic. “Greg Fucking Cartwright!” he exclaimed many times throughout the night.

However, Amendment One won’t be defeated by concerts, even ones as powerful as this. There were several calls to vote during the night, but it was Darnielle’s impassioned introduction to his moving cover of Sarah Dougher’s “40 Hours” that had the most impact:
I’m an immigrant to North Carolina, but I’ve never felt as strongly about any place that I live as I do about here. I have loved of a lot of places that I lived. The Californian in me will never be shaken and the 10 years I spent in Iowa are very real to me, but what I feel about North Carolina is something who everybody lives here I think knows: this sense of real bonding with your turf and your community and we’re kind of a lot different than people think when they talk about the South. People talk a lot of trash about the South.

When you get these anti-immigration laws in Alabama and stuff everybody goes “See? Look at those Southerners. They’re at it again.” If you look at the polling, we can actually beat this and the message that would send to the country about who we are would be the most powerful, amazing thing that I cry every time I think about it. We can look at California and say, “Y’all don’t really know about the South. In the South, we stopped that at our door step.”
Setlist [w/ performers listed]
Wait and See [Greg]
Sax Rohmer #1 [John]
Swimming Through Tires [Mac]
You Don’t Hear The Music [Greg]
40 Hours (Sarah Dougher cover) [John]
Attention All Pickpockets [John]
Tie a Rope to The Back of the Bus [Mac]
Your Love is a Fine Thing [Greg]
Come a Little Closer (New song) [Greg]
In Corolla [John]
Transjordanian Blues [John]
100,000 Fireflies (Magnetic Fields cover) [Mac]
Like a Pearl [Mac]
Shine [Greg]
? [Greg]
The Tower (Iron Maiden cover) [John]
Wild Sage [John]
High Hawk Season [John]
Digging for Something [Mac]
Find Me Now [Greg]
Suffragette City (David Bowie cover) [All]
Dance Music [John]
Fault Lines [John]
No Children [John]
This Year [John]
Everyday People (Sly & The Family Stone cover) [All]

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