The Mountain Goats Delight Palace Theatre

The Mountain Goats - Photography by Dylan Novacek

Last updated on May 11th, 2024 at 06:27 am

The Mountain Goats returned to the Twin Cities for a delightful night of music and storytelling. Rather than packing First Avenue’s mainroom, John Darnielle and company performed on the other side of the river in Saint Paul’s Palace Theater, which truly elevated the show’s overall atmosphere. 

The Mountain Goats – Photography by Dylan Novacek

Known for narrative-driven indie folk songs, the group’s latest album is a direct follow-up to their 2002 album, “All Hail West Texas”. The 2023 album “Jenny from Thebes” was prominently featured throughout the 24-song set to a lot of enjoyment from fans. 

The Mountain Goats – Photography by Dylan Novacek

Throughout their show, there was something for every Mountain Goats fan, with at least 12 albums being represented. With a deep back catalog of songs, I felt the show was very well structured. However, my favorite moments were when it was just John Darnielle without the band. It felt intimate and memorable. 

The Mountain Goats – Photography by Dylan Novacek

My first exposure to The Mountain Goats uniquely came from a podcast titled “I Only Listen to the Mountain Goats”. Hosted by Joseph Fink of Welcome to Night Vale, he and Darnielle relisten to the band’s albums track by track. Through listening to the series, I grew incredibly fond of Darnielle as a storyteller. 

The Mountain Goats – Photography by Dylan Novacek

This was my first time seeing him live and I was absolutely delighted. His stage presence, delivery, and overall passion were awesome to see. While I am typically the type who likes to sing along to every song, I felt okay just being in the moment and listening.

The vibe at Palace Theater felt very content and at peace. The relaxing moments would later be contrasted with larger singalongs like during fan favorite “This Year.” 

Katy Kirby – Photography by Dylan Novacek

Opening on this tour was singer-songwriter Katy Kirby. She reminded me of a lot of April Ludgate from Parks and Rec, and I mean that in the most positive way possible. Her set was short but enjoyable and did a great job setting the tone for the night. 

Overall, this was probably the most relaxed and enjoyable show I’ve gotten to attend. Although it was relatively light on flash, with very few bells and whistles with the lighting and energy, the focus was on the group’s musicianship and songwriting. 

The Mountain Goats – Photography by Dylan Novacek

The Mountain Goats felt right at home at the Palace Theater and I would love to see them again soon! 

Written by Dylan Novacek

Photographer, graphic designer, and multimedia storyteller from St. Paul. Most likely listening to CHVRCHES, Of Monsters and Men or Fall Out Boy. Once featured in the New York Times for using the bathroom during Avengers: Endgame.


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