John Darnielle of the Mountain Goats is at heart a storyteller: On “This Year,” from 2005’s The Sunset Tree, Darnielle declaims, “I downshifted as I pulled into the driveway, the motor screaming out stuck in second gear/The scene ends badly as you might imagine, in a cavalcade of anger and fear.” Onstage, his acoustic guitar is as insistent as his hyper-literate, eccentric lyrics. But it’s the between-song banter that really characterizes the live Darnielle experience. He told an Atlanta audience a few years ago, “We live in an age that preaches the value of new things…some new things suck gigantic asses all day long. This song is about a couple of people who are face-to-face with some of those gigantic asses to suck.” Tonight he’ll likely chatter between songs from two new limited-edition EPs, Satanic Messiah and Black Pear Tree—the second a collaboration with guitarist Kaki King, who opens this show.
THE MOUNTAIN GOATS PERFORM WITH KAKI KING AT 7 P.M. AT THE 9:30 CLUB, 815 V ST. NW, $17. (202) 265-0930.