MY FRIEND Triumph and I make it a point to go to every single Mountain Goats gig in the Bay Area. If they play three nights in a row, we go three nights in a row. I've never had an ongoing compulsion to see a band live like this before; I can almost understand what all those Deadheads were thinking back in the day. Why do the Mountain Goats inspire this completely irrational and rather expensive loyalty? A couple of reasons: (1) No one on the planet is writing songs the way John Darnielle writes them. After putting out what seems like hundreds of guy-with-a-guitar singles and EPs through the late '90s, he has been peaking since he joined 4AD's roster for 2003's full-band concept record Tallahassee, and last year's Heretic Prid/e may have been his best yet. (2) No two shows are the same. It's fascinating how everyone is yelling for their favorite songs, but not the same songs—I always hear dozens of titles being called out, some of which even get played. Still, please don't yell for "No Children," even though singing it at the top of my lungs with a sold-out room full of crazy fans was one of the best concert experiences of my life. And from what I understand, possibly Darnielle's as well. He loves him some NorCal.
Wednesday Oct. 29
1011 Pacific Ave
IF SOMEONE had told me back in '94 that the same guy who sang "Black Hole Sun" and "Spoonman" in eight blistering octaves would later record a solo disc with a hip-hop/pop giant, I would have told them to "eat my shorts" and gone back to my seventh-grade home-ec class. Yet 11 years after Soundgarden withered and died, grunge king Chris Cornell is set to release his second solo album, Scream, as a collaboration between himself and pop magic genie Timbaland. Regardless, the man can still howl like a banshee, and I suppose now he can also make ya booty drop.
Thursday Oct. 23
Kuumbwa Jazz Center
320-2 Cedar St.
JUST about every musical act worth mentioning attempts to blend genres. Whether consciously or not, a musician's influences eventually reach the ears of some poor music journalist who makes up a word like "electropop" or "grindcore," and suddenly the band can be sorted and filed. Jacqui Naylor takes a more direct approach with her patented "acoustic smashes," in which she sings rock gems like "Whipping Post" or "Losing My Religion" over cool jazz anthems by legends like Miles Davis or John Pizzarelli. With a deep, soulful delivery and an all-star band, Naylor is prime-time jazz pipes.