Jeff Mangum played Town Hall Saturday

Monday, October 31, 2011

For the entire hour-long set, during which he played only old songs, the audience sat rapt, hanging on every note. And between songs, if anything, the focus sharpened alongside a collective hope that the odd, angular figure in the page-boy cap might take five minutes to explain everything: why he took a J.D. Salinger-like dive out of public life, why he's back now, and what the future holds.

But true to character, Mangum gave up little. At one point, he said the audience could ask him questions -- and a few rang out. But the one he chose to answer -- "What's your favorite book?" -- he didn't really answer at all. "You know the answer to that one," he said, cryptically. Devoted fans suspected, perhaps, that he was referring to "The Diary of Anne Frank," which supposedly inspired many of the songs on "Aeroplane." But it could have just as easily been anything else -- "The Catcher in The Rye" or "Gravity's Rainbow," the Bible or the Koran or "How to Make Friends and Influence People." Who the heck knew?

Jeff Mangum @ Town Hall, New York, NY, USA on October 29, 2011
Two Headed Boy Pt. 2
In the Aeroplane Over the Sea
Song Against Sex
Gardenhead / Leave Me Alone
Oh Comely
I Love The Living You (Roky Erickson cover)
A Baby for Pree
The King of Carrot Flowers, Part One
The King of Carrot Flowers, Parts Two & Three
Holland, 1945
Two-Headed Boy

Has ANYONE else ever been so reclusive, still draw major fans and critics, without releasing anything new in years? No. But no one else is Jeff Mangum.




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