Live: Serenading the South Coast. The Mountain Goats, Coalition Brighton.

Nigh on everyone likes to be beside the seaside every once in a while, and Brighton provides as jovial a coastal setting as any. And just as a jaunt southwards proves a breath of fresh air, the breezes blustering about faded decadence outside banishing that black nasal gunk inherent of London, John Darnielle and the Mountain Goats are equally refreshing. Injecting wit dryer than seafront foodstuffs enwrapped in recent Daily Mail days past into the oft-deried 'folk' genre, the trio comprised of Darnielle, suaver-than-Sheen bassist Peter Hughes, and drummer-cum-'humorista' Jon Wurster deliver more sitcom-inspired satire and unadulterated emotion into ninety minutes than Communion manages to muster in its entire back catalogue.

They're over in support of latest LP All Eternals Deck, thus it's hardly astounding that following a suitably rapturous reception from those that've pilgrimaged to the caverns of Coalition, and a muted, relatively reserved skedaddle through Jeff Davis County Blues and Old College Try, Darnielle et al. segue into a selection of its most astounding moments. From the bittersweet surreality of Birth of Serpents to the cavalier, unexpectedly exultant Damn These Vampires, they prove themselves to be the small town heroes California mistakenly bred when attempting to regurgitate yet more vaguely morose teen drama soundtrack fodder. Vocals crack and curdle, splintered like boiled confectionary sticks periodically while a couple of basslines intermittently go skew-whiff, yet in their imperfections lies an unrefined, overtly melodramatic perfection. The pious undertones of a rickety Psalms 40:2 then pervade, before Darnielle is left to entertain (with tales of child stars and malformed evangelists) and enthral (with anti-consumer culture anthemia in the form of From TG&Y, The Hot Garden Stomp and the night's most vulnerable three minutes in San Bernardino) alone like a particularly manic street preacher in black punk patch blazer, backed only by rousing tin-like RainSong Graphite electroacoustic treble and the unintentional distant hiss of an unmanned snare. The buoyant bass of Prowl Great Cain provides further aural relish ahead of a truly triumphant This Year, a main set closer greeted like the greatest of celebratory hits that is meetly met with much epiphanic fist thumping in the front few rows. A rousing cover reworking of Houseguest, originally of Hughes' past endeavour Nothing Painted Blue, sees Darnielle seething, prowling amidst pillars of exposed brick, before leaping to the fore, mounting the safety barrier to bellow No Children in the largely bespectacled faces of the throng that in turn bittersweetly bellow every eloquent lyricism back into his recently despectacled face. Wonder was always on the cards, and tonight served up a wondrously great escape indeed.