“THE loneliest people in the whole wide world are the ones you’re never going to see again.”

A rapt audience of strangers sang loudly along to these typically lamenting Mountain Goats lyrics - from Harlem Roulette. In Brighton’s The Haunt, strangers were brought together by the American indie folk band. Their voices rising together singing, about loneliness, bred a feeling of solidarity and sharing.

Transforming loneliness into community; this is what The Mountain Goats do best and singer John Darnielle thanked the avid fans he recognised from previous gigs in Glasgow and London over the last few days.

Darnielle has been singing his confessional lyrics about demons for three decades now and his frankness about feeling like an outcast has earned The Mountain Goats a particular type of loyal fan who can perhaps transform individual pain into shared happiness through the music as Darnielle himself has done.

Darnielle engaged the audience at every point in a staggeringly intense 17-song set, telling stories about everything from his son’s nightly childhood “song-time” to a glimpse of a man with filed vampire teeth.

The Mountain Goats started off with Darnielle’s vision and although their latest album, Goths, offers a more polished music than their old boombox recordings, this gig is a pared back homage to the power of Darnielle’s voice. He was even on stage alone for a solo interlude in the middle of the set.

For a repertoire spanning from old favourites like Have to Explode (which opened the gig) and Up the Wolves to new hits such as Rain in Soho and Andre Eldridge is Moving Back to Leeds, Darnielle was accompanied by Matt Douglas, the Goats’ astounding multi-instrumentalist who took enthusiastically to saxophone, electric guitar and keyboard.

The gig closed with Darnielle entering the crowd and everyone singing No Children. The powerful sound of Darnielle’s voice and the possibilities of Douglas’ flights of enthusiasm were let down only by the venue’s PA system.

Freya Marshall Payne