Saturday, January 19, 2013

Concert Review: Jeff Mangum at Liberty Hall

"What a curious life we have found here tonight
There is music that sounds from the street." 

Well, it actually happened, scenesters.  The delicate genius Jeff Mangum emerged from his hidey-hole, perched on a stool at Liberty Hall, and proceeded to play most of In an Aeroplane Over the Sea (and a few other tunes) to a VERY sold-out crowd who (mostly) refrained from snapping his picture (as requested).  The crowd was in a state of hipster rapture, singing along to the soundtrack of so many stoned evenings with occasional outbursts of "I love you, Jeff," and "Thank you for touring."  Mangum was gracious, thanking the crowd for being there and singing along, but his comments didn't stray much further from those platitudes (at least as far as we could hear, which wasn't far, way back among the General Admission rabble on the floor), and in an hour we were released back into the humdrum world of everyday scenester life in LFK.

Hippest moment:  Mangum playing a Roky Erickson cover.   We suspect several scenesters fainted from hipness overload.  Runner up:  the stomp-along during "Ghost" sounded great in Liberty Hall.

Complaint:  Too much chattering from back behind us under the balcony overhang.  Admittedly, those folks could neither see nor hear from their position, but why not look for a better sightline or go to the lobby?  But at least no one in LFK stooped low enough to steal Mangum's throat spray (unlike some in the previous evening's performance in St. Louis:  read about it here ).

A Chip moment:  Chip kept trying to use Mangum lyrics as pick-up lines:  "Hey, you ladies wanna lay and learn what each other's bodies are for?"  It didn't work.

Oddest moment:  Mangum abruptly hurling one of his four guitars to the side of the stage, mid-song, and switching to another.

Observation:  we suspect this is the first time that a Liberty Hall scenester crowd has ever sang the words "I love you Jesus Christ Jesus Christ I love you yes I do" at the top of their lungs.

Verdict:  transcendence for the superfans; a fascinating evening with a legendary recluse for the rest of us.

[Note:  we hope to bring you "A Contrarian's View of Mangum" soon, a guest column that's likely to be much less tolerant of last night's audience.]

Photo:  no, don't be alarmed, we didn't secretly take a photo.  But here's a caricature that Mangum drew of himself and handed to a fan at a recent(ish) show.  Read about it here .

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