Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Live Review - 4/8/2012 Jeff Mangum at Great American Music Hall

I'm 32 now, and as time goes by I get more jaded.  Even a few years ago I would note how many beards and flannel shirts there were at concerts, or look with contempt at the ironic John Deere trucker hats people were wearing, or mock the apparently lack of interest on the part of those who seemed more interested in "the scene" than in the music.  I would be wearing my collared shirt or whatever, straight from work, because dammit I have a job (unless these slackers) but I still love the music.

Well, no one's less cynical than Jeff Mangum, who said once in an interview that he "had a very utopian vision that we could overcome anything through music" and after he found that wasn't true, stopped his Neutral Milk Hotel project for what turned out to be almost 15 years.  I cherished NMH's second album, In the Aeroplane Over the Sea, as my favorite of all time, but I never actually thought I'd get to see it performed live.  But there I was, with balcony seats at a 90-degree angle to the stage, so I could see not only Mangum and his cameo co-conspirators (including former NMHer Scott Spillane) but the crowd filling the Great American Music Hall.  I could see you, white guy with dreadlocks, obviously high but drumming along to "Holland, 1945."  I could see you, hipster girl with the dyed hair, and you were singing every word to "King of Carrot Flowers."  I could see you, old guy across the balcony, and you were clapping as hard as anyone for Mangum to come out for a second encore.  And I could see you, young college kids, who must have been about five when Aeroplane came out, and no one looked more ecstatic when he did come out, and played "Everything Is" and "Engine" and left us all to exit the concert into the streets, the last guitar strums still ringing in our ears.

Neutral Milk Hotel / Jeff Mangum official site