California's Mountain Goats played a sold out show at Webster Hall last Thursday in celebration of their new release, Beat the Champ. The crowd was as broad an audience as you could imagine: lifelong Lower East Siders who had known the Indie Folk vets for years from their original cassette and record releases stood side by side with early twenty-somethings who were introduced to the group by hearing their music on the Showtime series “Weeds.” But once the music started, the audience listened as one.
There were cathartic moments where the band seemed to offer up lyrics to the rock gods of old. Throughout the song “This Year,” you could feel the energy of the room release the most human of emotions as the chorus of “I’m going to make it through this year if it kills me,” reverberated throughout the hall. In an inadvertent “Welcome to NYC” moment, some of the quieter sections were wiped out by noise bleed from a performance downstairs in The Studio. Frontman John Darnielle brushed it off like a true veteran, managing to get the audience to laugh about it.
In addition to Darnielle, The Mountain Goats' current lineup consists of drums, bass and lead guitar. Bassist Peter Hughes' solid playing, spot on harmonies and overall enthusiasm were outshined only by his boss plaid suit.
The Mountain Goats performed over twenty songs, including two encores. Despite the pop emo music emanating from downstairs, on this night Webster Hall was the poster child for Indie Folk.