Ryan Trimble
The band "The Mountain Goats" performing on stage in blue lighting.

The Mountain Goats at XL Live


The Mountain Goats are currently on their “Spectral Tide” tour after releasing the album Bleed Out, back in the fall of 2022.

I went out to the Harrisburg, PA tour stop to watch them perform at the XL Live. It was my first time visiting the venue and was super impressed with it, definitely look forward to my next visit.

Adeem the Artist

Adeem the Artist is a non-binary, alternative country musician and they ruled!

Adeem the Artist playing guitar on stage

When it comes to country music in central Pennsylvania, I tend to be a bit disenfranchised. I have listened to country music pretty much my whole life, mainly due to geographical reasons. Although there are certainly some great country artists out there, it is not my cup of tea. That said, I have been interested in some alternative country performers recently and Adeem the Artist certainly piqued my interest.

Adeem’s setlist included some great songs such as I Never Came Out, personal favorite Going to Hell, an awesome cover of The Joker by the Steve Miller Band, and Cast-Iron Pansexual.

Adeem was super fun and talented and spoke on some very important issues facing the LGBTQ+ community, specifically around trans rights in their home state of Tennessee.

The Mountain Goats

I’m trying to buy more music rather than relying solely on streaming services. In doing so, I’m following more bands on Bandcamp, which is where I noticed the Mountain Goats would be playing nearby. I’ve been listening to them for years now, so I was excited at the idea of seeing them live.

The Mountain Goats performing on stage

I was captivated throughout the whole performance! Luckily we were able to get pretty close to the stage for their performance. Their setlist was broken up into four sections: full band performing, a solo set by frontman John Darnielle, the band returns, and finally an incredible encore.

First set

The band came out playing In the Craters of the Moon from their Heretic Pride album, which is a great song to hype up the crowd.

I was immediately impressed with Matt Douglas, who started on saxophone but swapped between guitar, keyboard, synth, and vocals - sometimes seemingly within the same song.

John Darnielle Solo

John sounded great and you could tell he was having a lot of fun.

His solo set included Night of the Mules, Grendel’s Mother, Jaipur, and Color in Your Cheeks.

Amusingly, someone in the crowd called out for him to play Noctifier Birmingham as that song specifically calls out Harrisburg, PA in the chorus. John admitted though that he tried to play it the night before in Philly, but forgot how to. Considering The Mountain Goats’ prolific discography, I can see forgetting how to play some songs.

Second set

The band returned playing Lizard Suit from their album, Dark in Here.

The second set also included some of their more well-known tracks Love Love Love, Up the Wolves, and This Year which had the crowd singing along.


As someone who spent a lot of time going to hardcore and death metal shows in my younger days, encores are something I’m still getting used to. Like they are this formality type thing at concerts: the band leaves, the crowd cheers, then the band comes back out. It’s sort of weird.

To be clear, I’m not complaining - especially with this particular concert as they wrapped up the encore with my favorite song and the song that introduced me to The Mountain Goats, No Children.

Let's work together!