Last Night: Mountain Goats and Kaki King at the Showbox


This is what the Mountain Goats looked like if you were really drunk.

“I’m contractually obligated to do this song so you can all touch yourselves,” said Kaki King, who at this point had the Showbox Market stage entirely to herself. She proceeded to make the sounds of a full band with just an acoustic guitar. According to wikipedia, “King's style combines fret-tapping with slap bass techniques, using the guitar for percussional beats, as well as sound layering and looping, which creates a percussive and complex sound.” It’s kind of like beatboxing with a guitar. But as impressive as she was, Kaki King wasn’t the headliner, nor was she the highlight.

Those honors went to the Mountain Goats, who recently collaborated with Kaki King on an EP entitled Black Pear Tree. While she joined them for a few songs, her instrumental virtuosity and the reverb and distortion heavy wall-of-sound they made together didn’t much suit Mountain Goats lead singer John Darnielle’s storytelling style. Having a drummer on the tour, however, did, as it added extra kick to the cathartic vignettes. While he ignored constant crowd calls for the comically bilious “No Children”, invoking Franz Kafka to justify his refusal, Darnielle did play crowd pleasers “Going to Georgia” (the best of his “Going to” series, in my opinion), “Pigs That Ran Straightaway Into the Water, Triumph of” (a poignant, defiant song about a guy trying to stay out of prison), and, to close the night, Stephen Colbert’s favorite, “This Year,” during which the now raucous, stomping crowd shouted along with the song’s besotted 17-year-old protagonist: “I am going to make it through this year / if it kills me.”

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