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Mountain Goats at the Barbican – Transcendental Youth

The Mountain Goats are like a beer from a small independent brewer – not widely known, but worth going out of your way for. John Darnielle (for it’s really just him) has been making quietly excellent records for 25 years, mixing brilliantly incisive tales of American society with tunes which beg to be whistled.

Transcendental Youth is a new partnership between the Mountain Goats and American vocal group Anonymous 4 featuring new songs from Darnielle. These songs explore the mournful voices of an imaginary small community in Washington State, telling the stories of the isolated and the lost in motels and apartment complexes around Snohomish County. They are heard here in special arrangements for voices, piano, and guitar.

The Barbican show kicks off with a short solo Mountain Goats set, followed by Anonymous 4 performing selections from their back catalogue and concludes with the collaborative performance of Transcendental Youth.

The main set promises to be worth hearing. It’s a look at the process of someone becoming a borderline recluse, getting inside their head and looking out at a world that seems too much to take. ‘Everyone has spent those years, or maybe entire seasons, indoors where you don’t really leave,’ Darnielle said. ‘That’s when you go into the inner realms of the spirit. This guy’s in hiding, and it’s this most spiritual realm. That old saying holds here, that you can’t be in a cave unless there’s an exit, or else it’s a grave.’

So get along if you can to see one of the most underrated songwriters of the last 25 years in a special environment. You won’t regret it.

Get tickets for the show here


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