Before last night, I’d never heard a single song of theirs. It was an odd show, for a number of reasons. For one, the crowd was astonishingly reverential – by which I mean there was utter, terrifying silence for the quieter songs, and a mass, gleeful singalong for the rowdier ones. Geoff had informed me that Mr. Darnielle has some problems with his voice, so I’d been expecting some relatively hushed vocals. But we actually couldn’t hear the words in six or seven songs, and we were standing in a prime spot, right behind the sound desk. Still, nobody seemed to mind. The show perked up for me when Franklin Bruno came on to play (splendid) keyboards on the last half-dozen or so songs. But overall it was hard to tell, from this one show (which Geoff assured me was atypical), why people might fall in love with this band.
Anyway, I came away with a couple of CDs to listen to (All Hail West Texas and Tallahassee): perhaps those will enlighten me!