Home > Uncategorized > A Flaws recording: the Mountain Goats, 2009-11-27

A Flaws recording: the Mountain Goats, 2009-11-27

Those who know me even superficially tend to know one thing about me: I am a Mountain Goats fanatic. Having been a fan for over 10 years, and seen them 36 times over those 10 years, I tend to have strong and in-depth opinions concerning this band, and I also tend to share those opinions freely, frequently, and at length. That said, I will try to keep my remarks on this recording as spare as I can and let the recording speak for itself.

I went into this show with mixed feelings – this was possibly the least excited I had ever been for a tMG show. While most of the other 4AD material – much of which is often dismissed on seemingly purist grounds by other longtime fans – had endeared itself to me, their new album, Life of the World to Come, had not taken hold. I tended to like the piano-based tracks, which to me signaled a new direction that had started with the Satanic Messiah EP, but most of the guitar-based tracks (barnburner “Psalms 40:2” notwithstanding) just felt uninspired and, worse, uninspiring to me. As much as I appreciated and admired the overall work of recently-added drummer Jon Wurster, the past couple of tours have made the dusting off of older songs awkward, as Wurster seemed to often get in the way rather than helping to propel these songs. Add in the fact that the previous two shows were canceled due to sickness, and all signs were pointing to this being an underwhelming concert experience.

Of course, at this point I should know better than to believe that JD and company would let me down. John’s piano playing, which had seemed so reluctant and unsure at the March 2009 NYC show that marked his first time playing piano on stage at a Mountain Goats gig, had progressed by leaps and bounds, as evidenced by his energetic dash to the bench at the start of 1 Samuel 15:23, rocking out and pointing into the air like he was Elton John or Billy Joel. From that first moment all of my doubts and misgivings were instantly erased, and as you can hear below, the show was fantastic; John was in high spirits and energy; the band, augmented by Perry Wright of the Prayers and Tears of Arthur Digby Sellers and at times by Owen Pallett (who at the time was going by his old stage name, Final Fantasy), was capable of both muscular force and tender nuance. Best of all, the LOTWTC material worked better live. Finally, I had started to grasp some of these songs and see beyond the polished veneer of the studio versions.

Notably, John did come out during Owen’s opening set to sing a violin-and-vocal arrangement of the tMG classic, “Alpha Omega.” While I did record Owen’s set, Owen’s recordings are not yet approved for hosting on archive.org. I will be e-mailing Owen’s management to request permission to place these recordings on archive.org, at which time I will update this post with that information.


1 Samuel 15:23
Old College Try
Psalms 40:2
Love Love Love
Deuteronomy 2:10
Enoch 18:14
Genesis 30:3
Song for Dana Plato
Cobscook Bay

It’s All Here in Brownsville
Hebrews 11:14
Isaiah 45:23
Hast Thou Considered the Tetrapod
Song for Dennis Brown
Romans 10:9
This Year
Ezekiel 7 and the Permanent Efficacy of Grace
No Children

You can download my recording of this concert in MP3, Ogg Vorbis, or FLAC formats from archive.org. You can also stream the recording below, but due to anomalies in the way archive.org seems to decode and stream the tracks, i strongly encourage you to download them if you like it, in FLAC if you are able.

Finally, I want to thank DC friends new and old who helped to make the show such an enjoyable experience, including Shannon, Zach, Colin, Neal, Owen, Lexitron, Natalia (although I didn’t get to see you this time around, it was fun looking for you!), and anyone else I may be forgetting.

the Mountain Goats – 2009-11-27, 9:30 Club, Washington, DC

Other Flaws recordings on archive.org:
the Mountain Goats – 2005-05-04, First Unitarian Church, Philadelphia, PA
the Mountain Goats – 2005-05-05, Knitting Factory, New York, NY
the Mountain Goats – 2005-05-07, Northsix, Brooklyn, NY
the Mountain Goats – 2005-07-02, Old American Can Factory, Brooklyn, NY
the Mountain Goats – 2005-07-04, Fulton Mall Parking Garage, Brooklyn, NY
the Mountain Goats – 2009-03-21, Sixth & I Historic Synagogue, Washington, DC
the Mountain Goats – 2009-11-27, 9:30 Club, Washington, DC

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