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All words and photos by Chris Svetlik.

Maybe it was always this way and I never realized it, or maybe the fanbase has shifted, but Mountain Goats fans have gotten super young. Standing by the stage staking out a good picture-taking spot, I was packed in on all sides by throngs of John Darnielle-adoring mid-to-late-teenagers. Seemed weird to me at first, given how dark all his music is, but throughout the evening it started to make more sense.

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Final Fantasy, the opening act, is primarily composed of a guy out of Toronto named Owen Pallett who does a bunch of intensely looped and layered stuff with a sampler, violin, and keyboard. I found him to be an extremely talented violinist but an uncompelling songwriter. Maybe I’m just not huge on dissonance, but there was a whole lot of it. Pallett peppered his set with nerdtastic references to Shiva, Vishnu, and lots of video games. Also his backup drummer/guitarist asked the audience whether they’re Edward people or Jacob people.

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The Mountain Goats set was good – intense, heartfelt, emotional. I’m blanking on many song titles, as Darnielle has written like 10 million of them. John was also letting loose with the video game references. At one point, discussing the game ‘Odin’: “You realize that you’re playing the video game because of the sadness in your life, and there’s no sadness in the game.” Dark, John, dark. So I started to see the appeal for the kiddies up front in the crowd: angst/darkness + video game affinity + fantasy/magic worlds + finding outlets. On stage John even jumps up and down with mouth gaping open and walks around barefoot like a kid.

Anyhow, good show. I don’t know enough about the Mountain Goats to say much more, so I’ll let the pictures do the talking. Here are the shots I managed to take before angry Mountain Goats management guy told me to stop:

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