Archive for Williamsburg

The Richardson

Posted in alcohol, bars, food, Tom with tags , , , , , , , on October 20, 2008 by criticalreviews

The Richardson

451 Graham Avenue (the corner of Richardson and Graham) Williamsburg, Brooklyn
After last Sunday I was surprised to find myself walking around in Williamsburg again, and possibly headed to one of the same locations. We were on our way to check out Spuytin Duyvil’s No Joke Oktoberfest Celebration, but when we got there is was a little too crowded for our likings…and luckily had a back-up plan. This back-up plan involved heading back north. We walked down Havemeyer from Metropolitan to where it turns into Whithers, and then zig zagged a bit over to Graham Ave. I didn’t realize that there were so many Italian restaurants and delis in the area that is so close to my house…one of which we procured some delicious fresh cavatelli for dinner. The point is we ended up making our way to The Richardson. After the various write ups on Greenpointers (this is the most recent of the bunch), and the reviews on Yelp! (almost all 5 stars) how could we not try it out.

The Richardson is a big place with lots of tables, a huge bar, beautiful wallpaper, and a cozy feel (although it was a little cold with the doors open, it was still a really pleasant vibe). The first thing I noticed was the wallpaper, chandelier, and pumpkins (nice way to set the fall mood). We sat at the bar, and were the only people in the bar for a while but more patrons trickled in slowly. While at the bar klk tried one of their signature cocktails (and a couple fabulous drinks made with Hendricks Gin), while I was in the mood for beer (hence the Oktoberfest as the original plan) ordered a couple Troegs Hopback Ambers, and a Southern Tier IPA. The cocktails were made the old fashioned way, and I was really impressed by the well thought out beer list…this is sometimes a rarity at a cocktail bar (the only other thing I ask for is a stout or porter other than Guinness).

While the bar was pretty quiet we had the wonderful company of the barkeep. He was extremely friendly, and good for conversation…as well as makes excellent cocktails. Sometimes you go to a new hip bar, and kinda get the cold shoulder, but he was genuinely friendly…and this was more or less the icing on the cake. Leah stopped in to meet us for a drink, and had a Manhattan which was also delicious (I can’t pass up trying a whiskey drink when offered a sip).

We ordered some roasted nuts (part of their new menu), but were slightly underwhelmed. This might be because we are more or less experienced nut roasters ourselves. Some of their other food did sound quite tasty.

On top of the wonderful staff, and nice decor the bar keeps a consistent theme. The bartenders all have a loose rocker/greaser theme going on, and the music is all pre-1970 (if not older) rock n’ roll and r & b. A really nice touch that really ties the place together.

This place is perfect for a date or if you have a large group , and they have something to accommodate everyone. I’m adding this place to my regular rotation of drinking spots (and it doesn’t hurt that it is pretty close to my house).

Photos by Marcus in NY (via flickr)

(Tom)

Buying Beer in the ‘burg and the ‘point

Posted in alcohol, beer, Tom with tags , , , , , , , , , on August 1, 2008 by criticalreviews

Since I moved to Greenpoint I have struggled to find that decent priced case of beer. I tend to buy American craft beers, and I found myself in the land of $10-$12 sixpacks.

I sold beer for Whole Foods for quite a long time, and while I was there I always tried to have a good sixpack for $7.99 or cheaper ($6.99 was my ideal price point)…I did good stuff too like Lagunitas, Sierra Nevada, and Victory. But Lately it has been hard to find good deals on good beer. This is my guide to finding the deals on good beer in in Williamsburg and Greenpoint…if you have any favorite spots that I missed please let me know!

Buying a Case:

The $10-$12 sixpack was no shock, being that I had hung out in the neighborhood quite a bit before I moved here, but it was hard coming from upper Manhattan where I could go to my local beverage warehouse and pick up a case of Magic Hat or Brooklyn for around $28 (and some weird loop hole that let the Magic Hat 12 packs go for $11.99… I like Magic Hat when it’s cheap).

I started my quest for a decent priced case at Beverage World (408 Meeker Ave), and was honestly disappointed. They had your Sierra Nevada, Brooklyn, Dogfish Head, Lagunitas, Oskar Blues, and Smuttynose, but the six packs of most of these things were as expensive or more expensive than bodegas. When I asked for a price on a case the only one the guy knew off hand was Brooklyn. He said that the others would be between $40-$50 a case (in other words I could get these just as cheap, or cheaper, at a bodega). Brooklyn came to about $35 (tax and deposit included). Which wasn’t bad?…I saved $5 off bodega prices, but still not great. They did let me mix my six packs though (1 brown, 2 IPA, and a pilsner). Although not the deal I was hoping for. These guys get extra credit for being friendly.

My next stab at getting a case was at Big Blue Beer Distribution (223 Greenpoint Avenue). The selection at Big Blue was a little larger than Beverage World. They had price stickers for sixpacks and cases next to almost every beer (which was helpful). Most cases were around $30.99-$32.99 (plus tax and deposit)…Brooklyn might have been $28.99 (again plus tax and deposit). Their six packs were in general about 50 cents to a $1.50 cheaper than your grocery store or bodega (but at the bodega the tax and deposit is included so it pretty much evens out). This might be a good stop for some single bottles, but then again there are better places in the neighborhood for that too. At Big Blue there was no customer service at all, and I fear that the beer might be kept in questionable conditions…it was as hot or hotter than it was outside in the room where they kept the beer (definitely not ideal).

Unless you need it delivered the savings, around $4 to $7 depending on the case (compared to bodega prices), from Big Blue and Beverage World are just too minimal to justify the trip.

Ok now who can be my reasonably priced beer savior? You guessed it…The Brooklyn Brewery! While I’ve known about their Friday Happpy Hour and weekend tours for quite a while, the brewery also sells cases! Although only open three days a week the Brooklyn Brewery is the most direct, and best priced location to buy a case of good beer in the area! While all of the cases are slightly different prices they always have a case on sale for $15! Right now the sale is the Brooklyn Weisse. I’m not such a fan of wheat beers so I didn’t get one, but I did buy a case of Brooklyn East India Pale Ale for $26 (which is a great deal considering this monster is at 6.9% abv! It’s super fresh too, good thru February 2009). These prices at the brewery include tax and deposit, so it is $26 flat. Definitely the best deal in the area. Thank you Steve Hindy and Garrett Oliver! I really love having the brewery so close to me, but I do hope that Hindy and Oliver can find a larger space…I’m with Greenpointers on this one…if you move Come to Greenpoint! The Brewery is currently located at 79 N 11th St (between Berry and Wythe). Cutting out the middle man is a good thing. Read my review of the Happy Hour here!

Sixpacks and Singles:

Spuyten Duyvil Grocery
218 Bedford Ave Brooklyn 11211 (btwn N 4rd and N 5th in the Mini Mall)

While the Spuyten Duyvil Grocery does not have the largest selection, but they definitely have the most obscure and highest quality selection in town. They cater to the beer geek very well, specializing in single bottles. I can’t say that I shop in this store all that often, but when ever I do I am always happy…this is my go to for Jolly Pumpkin, Regenboog, and De Dolle. While I do admit they are a little on the pricey side, I can guarantee that the beer has been properly taken care of and is of the highest quality. And if you want to talk beer the clerk is always up for it. I picked up a bottle of La Roja this week! Oh and they also have fancy pickles, mustards, spreads, glassware, shirts, and snacks too.

Forest Natural
120 Norman Ave. (between Leonard and Eckford)

Forest Natural really isn’t a “beer destination”, but it is close to my house. For a place that doesn’t carry a ton of beer they always have an obscure selection…six packs vary from about $9-$11, and you can mix and match (I have never had one come to more than $10.50…and my six pack of Avery IPA was only $9…great deal!). They always have a couple flavors of Weyerbacher, Avery (and these two are enough to make me happy), Goose Island, and Lake Front. It is pretty much my go to spot…whether I need some beer, or yummy kettle chips, a bagel, or a sandwich (oh the sandwiches are sooo good). I know that the beer can be about a dollar more expensive than the bodegas, but the guys that work there are really nice and I think it is important to support these people…this run a nice shop. And they deliver (even Beer) if you have an order over $10 (which is pretty easy to do).

**Revisited several times over the past couple months, and Forest Natural’s selection has gone down hill. While they still have great sandwiches…when I stop on for Beer I usually end up not buying beer, and head over to the Natural Garden to pick some up.

Tops on the Waterfront
89 N 6th St (between Berry & Wythe)

Tops on the Waterfront used to be my go to spot before I moved to the neighborhood. They used to have a great selection, as good as any Whole Foods Market, and comparable prices…but as of recently the selection has gone down hill and the prices have gone up. It sounds ridiculous, but I used to get excited to go beer shopping at this place…now I only go when I need groceries, when I am not going all the way to Whole Foods, and the beer is just an after thought (where it used to be the other way around). I wish I knew what happened…they still have a decent selection but not as good as it used to be. You can find some Troegs though…and they seem to be under represented in the neighborhood.

I know that these are just six places in two large neighborhoods that I chose to highlight. To sum it up…if you need a case, and you like Brooklyn, your decision is made…head straight to the Brewery. The beverage warehouses aren’t worth the time unless you live with within a block of them. The couple stores that I highlighted are the best that I have found, but if you know a place that isn’t totally ridiculously priced (or has a ridiculously good selection) let me know…I’ll check it out!

Photo Credits:

Brooklyn Cases by Jon Cronin (via flickr)

Brooklyn Brewery by Wally G (via flickr)

Spuyten Duyvil Grocery by Roboppy (via flickr)

Forest Natural by Neighborhood Threat

(Tom)

D.B.A. in the East Village (Williamsburg location to open maybe by 2009!)

Posted in alcohol, bars, News, Tom with tags , , , , , on July 9, 2008 by criticalreviews

First off some news: DBA is going to open in Brooklyn this Month! That is right, DBA will open a second New York City location on North 7th Street between Berry and Whythe in Williamsburg**. This was confirmed by the several signs for the new location that we saw in the already well established East Village location last night (and Brownstoner).

Now for a review of the Manhattan location:

41 First Avenue, New York City, NY
(between 2nd and 3rd Street)

DBA is one of those bars that I have been going to since I moved to New York two years ago. The bar is on the largish size, with a long bar on the left when you walk in, and tables down the right. There is one of those PacMan/Space Invaders tables towards the back, and a really large outdoor patio that always seems to have a seat for you no matter how large your group is.

DBA’s slogan “Drink Good Stuff,” and they pretty much keep with that slogan. They have a great selection of pretty much everything that will get you drunk, but I have taken particular notice to the excellent bourbon and tequila (they have a much more extensive selection than most bars), as well as, of course, the beer. Beerwise they have an extensive bottle list, 16 taps, and two casks.

DBA really isn’t the place for people who want to swill Bud, Miller, or PBR. I remember hearing this conversation on one visit:

Woman: I’ll have a Miller Lite.
Bartender: I’m sorry we don’t have Miller.
Woman: How about a Bud Lite?
Bartender: I’m sorry we don’t have that either, try this Pilsner…it’s made by Lagunitas.

They always have a really quality selection (but if required you can find your Corona and Stella in bottles). Last night we were drinking the Sierra Nevada Torpedo and Avery Brewing’s Maharaja Imperial IPA. All of the normal strength beers(7% abv and below) are typically $6 and served in pints (great deal on the Torpedo), and the stronger ones/obscure imports are between $6-$8 and served in goblets. Happy Hour is $1 off (not sure what the Happy Hours are though…we were there at 7:35 and it was not happy), and you can upgrade a pint to an imperial pint for an extra $1(even during happy hour).

I can say that the service at the bar is not consistently great. The bartenders are always at least decent, but on occasion you do get ignored (I have had a couple bad experiences, but not so bad that I don’t return). It is also really frustrating when your order is taken, and the bartender proceeds to take many other orders and serve them first. These problems don’t happen all the time (last night was great!), but they have happened more than once. Fortunately there is a way around the bar service problem! If you sit on the back patio there is table service, and the waitress last night was really good…even remembering drinks of people on the very crowded patio.

They occasional have food events like Cheese Night (Cheesy Mondays if I am not mistaken), and free bagels with cream cheese and lox are available during brunch hours on the weekend.

Overall I guess what I am getting at is that DBA is just a good bar. Decent selection of everything (liquor/beer/wine), reasonable prices (I hope the Brooklyn one is a little cheaper than the , but we will see), mostly pleasant staff, and a clientèle that isn’t obnoxious (which at least in the East Village on the weekend can be hard to find).

DBA is a welcomed addition to Williamsburg, and it is one more place that I see myself frequenting. In the NYC beer scene DBA seems to get less attention than it should, but I think they can give Mug’s Ale House some competition and that is a good thing.

I hope the new Williamsburg location is as dog friendly as the one in the East Village…Cooper likes to hang out at the bar.

Williamsburg photo courtesy of Brownstoner
East Village photos courtesy of NY Magazine

(Tom)

**Update as of 8/18/08. Please note I keep checking to see if the new location is open, and so far it has not. I’ll update this post as soon as I see DBA Brooklyn’s doors open.

***UDATE as of 11/13/08.  I heard from a friend looking for a bartending gig that they are supposedly going to start hiring staff soon.  This might be a good sign.  I was kinda convinced that it was never going to open.

Death By Audio invaded by Foot Village. “Friendship Nation” established on May 12th in Brooklyn.

Posted in music, shows, Tom with tags , , , , , on June 20, 2008 by criticalreviews

Foot Village played Death By Audio a couple weeks ago (accompanied by Mincemeat and Aa, but I am going to focus on Foot Village bacause as far as I’m concerned they totes stole the show), and I was lucky enough to make it to the show despite traveling all day (long flight from South Carolina, straight to a noise show…exactly why I love this city).

Foot Village is a four piece from Los Angeles, and they blessed Brooklyn with their presence on May 12th. One of the members is Josh Taylor of Friends Forever (for more about Friends Forever watch the documentary), who I love but I didn’t know he was in the band until the day of the show. Foot Village set up in the middle of Death By Audio rather than on the stage. Their set up consisted of two full drum kits facing each other, and several toms and various other drums set up in between the kits creating an X formation. the four members were situated facing each other. Foot Village plays completely unamplified except for a Bull Horn which helps get a single persons voice over the loud thunder of the drums.

Their performance was really intense, and the drums and the chanting give them a tribal vibe while still being very experimental and noisy at the same time. When the four members sing/chant/scream in unison there is even a pop element, and while it wouldn’t go over in your typical mainstream fashion, I could see Foot Village gaining a slightly larger fanbase from some noisier acts out there (fans of old Animal Collective, ect.).

The band even joked introducing themselves by saying “Hi, we’re No Age.” It does feel like a barrage of LA bands have been hitting NYC lately (Health, Abe Vigoda, No Age, among others)…Foot Village is the most experimental of the crew, and seeing them really put me in the mood for No Fun Fest the following weekend. Although Foot Village isn’t your typical noise act, they definitely fall under that category, or experimental music best.

Foot Village give the vibe that they are just there to have fun, and it truely was. Turns were taken on the bull horn, and each member took breaks from drumming duties to dance and sing.

After Foot Village played Aa took the stage. While I can appreciate their music, I was still in awe from the Village so I wondered back to the merch table to pick up some Foot Village records.

Brian, one of the members, was working the table. I don’t know what it is, but I have found it common for merch people in New York to be less friendly than other places, but Brian proved me wrong. He truely was genuinely nice, and very talkative. He talked to me about their records (I picked up Friendship Nation, and a 7″ where Foot Village covers Alec Empires remix/cover of Bjork’s “Bachelorette”…I know how about that for a cover song). We talked about the South, and Brian even knew some people from Charleston, SC (I guess they played with Puke Attack before before out west). Overall talking to Brian was the icing on the cake of a great show. I wish these guys alot of luck…they have a great live performance, and lots of positive energy…come back to New York soon!

Media:

Foot Village live at the Opera House:

Part 1

Part 2

Listen to Foot Village at their Myspace

Photos of the show are from the CMJ Blog

Ok so I haven’t gotten back to my normal posting schedule…but at least I am back up to one a week. Cheers.

(Tom)

Lenora’s Way (formerly known as Wells Ales and Lagers)

Posted in alcohol, bars, restaurant, Tom with tags , , , , , , on April 16, 2008 by criticalreviews
303 Bedford Ave. (between South 1st and 2nd Streets)
Williamsburg, Brooklyn

So I started going Wells Ales and Lagers sometime last fall, and it has quickly become my favorite bar (I’ve been there twice in the past week, and that says a lot about it considering how far uptown I live). I was talking to a bartender on a recent visit and found out that one of the original owners was bought out, and that is why it is now called Lenora’s Way (the person who got bought out took the name Wells with him). There really hasn’t been any changes since the name has changed: same bartenders, atmosphere, and great beers (I still call it Wells, I just can’t used to saying the new name, and they still have the Wells sign). This has become our stand by in Williamsburg, and even though it is a little south we always hit it up before going to a show (a short walk to Musichall of Williamsburg, and a really short walk to Death By Audio or Glasslands).

This bar has a really new feel. A long wooden bar runs down the left side of the establishment and a couple tables down the right side (it is a very narrow space). There is one booth in the very front, and they have a largish garden area for when the weather is nice. Behind the taps there is some really nice tiling, and the lighting is dim and pleasant. Musically it is really diverse, but the thing that really attracted me to the place was that the first time I was in they had on some really chill roots and dub reggae. Other than reggae frequent musical selections are jazz, 90’s indie rock, and just once…Slayer.

Drink wise they have about 10 beers on tap (roughly 5 American Craft beers at about $5 per pint, and 5 Belgian or European ranging from $6-$9). One big plus is that one of the American’s is usually one of the higher alcohol Lagunitas beers (Lumpy Gravy from the Zappa series, and Maximus IPA recently). They also have over 100 bottles of beer, many extremely reasonably priced for what they are (most between $4-$6), and a carefully chosen wine list. Unless you exclusively drink hard liquor Wells will have something for you, and if you can’t decide the bartender can help you. Service has always been excellent

They have a small food menu of paninis and appetizers, all of which are a bit on the gourmet side. I have only tried the vegetable panini and the hummus…and they were both wonderful.

I highly recommend this bar…great atmosphere (never too loud, always good for conversation), music, and bar staff…unlike a several of the other bars I have reviewed I have visited this place many times, and have yet to have a bad experience…I hope it stays that way.

Oh and I almost forgot…if you are still thirsty on your way out they sell any of their bottles to go! So no need to stop on the way home to get more beer.

Photo taken by Uptick.

(Tom)

The Weakerthans & AA Bondy @ Musichall of Williamsburg. Friday April 11th, 2008.

Posted in music, shows, Tom with tags , , , , , , , on April 14, 2008 by criticalreviews

So this show is a really longtime coming for me. I have been a fan of the Weakerthans since Fallow, and consistently followed them through their various releases. KLK and I even had tickets to see them once at the Cat’s Cradle in Chapel Hill, NC (four years ago) but couldn’t make the 5 hour drive due to illness. I am always a little nervous seeing bands that I have listened to for a longtime, but have unfortunately missed live time and time again.

I did get to see Propagandhi on the Todays Empires, Tomorrows Ashes tour, but this was after John K. Samson left the band. I love Propagandhi, but when Samson left the band it marked two very important things: 1) the creation of The Weakerthans as a band and no longer just a side project, and 2) Propagandi getting heavier and faster as well as the end of the Less Talk More Rock(one of my favorite punk rock albums ever) era (as well as the permanent break up of I Spy, another great Canadian punk band whose singer, Tod, filled Sampson’s spot in Propagandhi). Overall I think this change was a good thing, because it let Samson develop his own voice, and his wonderful poetic lyrics (but at the same time let some of the things I really love about Propagandhi die). While some of the punk rock feelings remain lyrically, and somewhat musically, the Weakerthans are very much a rock band and they do it well.

We were hesitant about going to the show (the nervous anxious feeling of seeing a band you like…and the fear of disappointment), and almost decided to sell our tickets outside…but in the end we ended up going in…and it turned out to be really enjoyable, except for the opening act.

AA Bondy was the second of two opening acts (we didn’t get there in time for Christine Fellows). Bondy was a plays slightly whiny upbeat acoustic rock (solo), and seemed like he wanted to be a mix between Conner Oberst and Ryan Adams. Singing about emotions, relationships, and drugs just didn’t quite do it for me. One of his songs started out with the line “Sweet Sweet Cocaine,” and while this might work for some other artists to me it just came off sounding cheesy. I realize that Bondy may have been in an influential band previously, but I can’t say that I was moved at all by his set the other night. If the show hadn’t have been sold out we probably would have showed up right before the Weakerthans went on, but got there early to get a decent view of the band and had to endure Bondy’s set.

The Weakerthans came on around 11pm, and played for an hour and a half including two encores. We watched from the balcony, and The Weakerthans played a really tight set. While many bands today have a cohesive look, The Weakerthans are all individuals and presented to me just a bunch of friends in a band doing their thing. The four piece was joined on stage by Christine Fellows (playing keyboard and guitar), and overall had a very unpretentious vibe (as expected). I really don’t think of The Weakerthans as a punk band (but I guess I used to), and while there was very little moshing there was quite a bit of finger pointing and dancing. Overall a really fun show. They surprisingly only played a handful of songs from the newest album, Reunion Tour, while playing fan favorites from all of the previous albums. While I haven’t gotten super into Reunion Tour I can appreciate it, but I thought it was wonderful to see them playing songs that were released so many years ago. One or two off Fallow (hurrah for “Confessions of a Futon-Revolutionist”)and several off of Left and Leaving. And a whole bunch of Reconstruction Site (I was really happy to hear “Plea to a cat named Virtue” and “Our Retired Explorer (Dines With Michel Foucault In Paris, 1961)”).

Samson was actually really cute…he came out on stage before the second encore by himself and took pictures of the sold out crowd. This show really brought me back. We stayed until the end of the show, and headed out into the night with really positive feeling. I kept hearing people yell out “Anchorless,” but I guess John needs some back up to do that one live (see below). We left the show feeling so good that we ended up drinking until 5am….cheers to the Weakerthans and good friends!

Media:

Listen to “Plea from a cat named Virtue” off of Reconstruction Site:

While searching for photos of the show on flickr I came across one with the caption:

“JD joins JKS for a very impromptu duet version of “Anchorless”, as viewed through Weakerthans drummer Jason Tait’s camera LCD screen. “

Although the video isn’t the best it is worth posting: John K. Samson and John Darnielle playing “Anchorless” (thanks Lalitree!!!)

Weakerthans photo is from Anti-Records’ website

(Tom)

The Mountain Goats and The Moaners @ Music Hall of Williamsburg. Wednesday March 19th, 2008

Posted in music, shows, Tom with tags , , , , , , on March 25, 2008 by criticalreviews

Ok, so for now there is going to be a barrage of concert reviews from me, but I can’t help it. I have kinda made a pact with myself to review every concert that I attend…so far this has been going really well, and we will see if I can keep up:

Today: Glorytellers at Cake Shop
Wednesday: Apache Beat, Team Robspierre, Health, and Crystal Castles at Mercury Lounge
Saturday: The Convocation of… at Cake Shop (unfortunately canceled)
Monday: Health, Ghengis Tron, and High Places @ Knitting Factory

I guess what I am trying to say is excuse the music heaviness of my posting over the next couple weeks (I will change it up music wise too with a mailorder review and a packaging/record review. I also have a couple restaurant and bar reviews coming as well).

But now back to the Mountain Goats show.

The Moaners have been opening for the Goats on this tour, and they were actually pretty fun to watch. They are a two piece band, with a guitarist and a drummer. These two women have a (at least one) record out on Yep Rock, and played a really nice set. Their music is kinda bluesy, and with a slight nod to Sleater-Kinney. Ok, I know comparing a girl group to Sleater-Kinney is kinda a cop out, but they actually had a couple songs that really reminded me of them (earlier stuff, you know Dig Me Out, ect). I also think they might be better at a smaller show…the singer seemed kinda shy with the large crowd…she was wearing really big sunglasses the whole show. Despite the little bit of shyness The Moaners rocked pretty hard, and although this is another one of those bands that I don’t think I would listen to at home they were a good opening act (which up until recently has been few and far between).

So I bought us tickets to the MHOW show, and I did this mainly because I hate Webster Hall so much. But after a review by the Village Voice blog of the Webster Hall show I know I made the right decision…ok now I don’t put much faith in the Voice, but it was clear by the set that John played at MHOW that he had read it, and wanted to give his fans a different experience.

To our surprise John walked out on stage all by himself. I expected to see Peter Hughes follow, but John just strapped on his guitar and began to play. He proceeded to give the sold out crowd at MHOW an almost 40 min long solo set, and then called for the rest of the band to come out. During this solo set John played from pretty much the entire catologue For this tour the Goats have added a third member, a drummer, Jon Wurster. The Goats have been using a drummer on the records since Tallahassee, and it was interesting to see it live.

Before the show started we (KLK and I) were discussing our history with the Mountain Goats(seeing him at least 10 times in the past five years…all of these shows were in NC, NYC, and SC…including some shows that I booked). I have to say that John has never disappointed me. I will admit that that I have had a little bit of a hard time getting into the past couple albums, but that is not because I don’t like them…it is just because the older four track recordings used to be on my stereo non-stop for so many years (I initally had a hard time getting into everything after All Hail West Texas, but now We Shall All Be Healed ranks in my favorite albums). This show really put John’s full body of work into perspective for me…it tied the older songs that I consider classics in with the newer. This show really impressed me, and any one who has been skeptical of the Goats experimentation should just listen to “Lovecraft in Brooklyn” about ten times in a row and it should click (damn that song is good, and my favorite off the new album).

The full band portion of the set ended up being about 40 minutes as well…and there were even two encores. They only played three or four songs off of Heritic Pride which was pretty surprising, but I’ll take old Mountain Goats anyday. So now I am going to be a hater…the first encore was a cop out where they played “No Children” and “Best Ever Death Metal Band Out of Denton”. I know these are favorites, and I even really like these songs, but just by how John talked about them made me believe that he was really tired of playing them. During “No Children” he didn’t even sing into the microphone, or really at all, he just let the crowd sing. This is sad to me because I can remember the days when we would see him screaming so loud into the mic during this song that I thought his eyes were going to pop out. The passion just doesn’t seem to be there any more…almost like he is just going through the motions. “BEDMBOOD” was a little better, but these didn’t compared to their cover of “House Guest” by Nothing Painted Blue (see the video below…not from this show, but still really good).

This show was really great, and I would love to see them when they come back in May, but I think I am going to need to opt for the No Fun Fest (w/ Thurston Moore and Burning Star Core both playing the same night), and I think John would approve of this decision. I think this show will definitely hold me off on my Mountain Goats fix until next time, and maybe by that time the Goats will be covering High on Fire.

Go Pirates!

Photo of the Mountain Goats at MHOW by Bryan Bruchman

The Moaner’s photo comes from Yep Rocs website

(Tom)