Gig review: Neutral Milk Hotel (Barrowlands)

Neutral Milk Hotel
Neutral Milk Hotel

It’s hard to over-emphasise the impact Neutral Milk Hotel’s seminal second record ‘In the Aeroplane Over The Sea’ had on a generation of music fans.

Regularly topping a variety of ‘best of’ lists, the popularity of the folksy concept album has enjoyed an exponential increase in popularity since 1998.

Part of that has always been the mystique surrounding lead singer (and sole songwriter) Jeff Mangum - who suffered a breakdown so severe that it seemed certain to end his career.

So to see him take to the Barrowlands stage, face almost entirely hidden by hair and hat, is the realisation of a dream many had thought would remain unfulfilled.

That his voice has retained its tortured charm is remarkable; that his original band are all present, correct and playing with infectious abandon is something close to a miracle.

Launching straight into all three parts of ‘The King of Carrot Flowers’, it’s not long before tears of joy are appearing on the cheeks of more than a few of those present.

It starts a singalong which continues unabated until the last lines of closing song ‘Engine’ are greeted by a fiercely passionate ovation. Joyous.