Folk rockers The Mountain Goats and psychedelic gospel guru Matthew E. White proved to be a winning combination Saturday night, packing an impressive crowd into the Mercy Lounge in Nashville.
Since releasing their fourteenth album, Transcendental Youth, John Darnielle and co. have been hitting the road hard, wowing audiences across the country. But it was White who stole the show in Music City, with his odd blend of soulful pop and neo-psychedelia.
Since releasing his 2012 debut, Big Inner, White has enjoyed almost unanimous critical praise, and after seeing his live show, it’s easy to see why.
The smooth horn section and strange brew of influences make for a dynamic performance, ranging from hauntingly beautiful to downright funky. White, for his part, brings cool, assured vocals that glide over his fluid guitar work.
Not to be forgotten were headliners, The Mountain Goats, who also had a compelling dynamic, with Darnielle performing a few songs solo acoustic, not that it was necessary. The songs sound about as stripped down with the band, with the focus on Darnielle’s poignant lyrics and sweet, nasally delivery.
While the Goats played plenty of Transcendental Youth, they also stretched back into their catalog, crafting a setlist that served to please more than just the casual fan. And while the point goes to White for this show, it’s easy to see why this pairing works so well.
Photos: Sarah Sommer