Jeff Mangum Performs In NYC

We’ve checked in with Music Tapes a few times this year, and before that got all sincere over In The Aeroplane’s 10th birthday, but things have been fairly quiet on the Jeff Mangum front in ’08. (Though the Neutral Milk Hotel founder did get married in January.) So we were surprised to get so many e-mails about him this morning! Jeff made his first onstage NYC appearance in years at last night’s Elephant 6 Holiday Surprise Tour (“a large gathering of Elephant 6 members playing the music of The Music Tapes, Circulatory System, Scott Spillane, Gerbils, Elf Power, Olivia Tremor Control, Nana Grizol, Nesey Gallons…”) Here’s reader Cait telling us about it, along with some video:

Jeff Mangum walked onstage 3 times last night at the amazing Elephant 6 collective show — first just for the chorus of a song, about halfway through, then again for just a chorus, and finally at the last song (“The Opera House” by Olivia Tremor Control, before the encores) when he went NUTS and sang for the whole song. He was jumping around and sort of tackled Scott Spillane halfway through and put him in a headlock. He had the most intense look in his eyes the whole time he was on stage. Everyone chanted “Jeff Jeff Jeff”, and someone was yelling for songs from Aeroplane (“anything from that album!!! you have to!!”) but all we got from that album was Julian Koster and Scott Spillane doing a stripped-down, unpracticed version of The Fool, “dedicated to a friend”, which Julian said they hadn’t practiced in years. I’m sure you’ll get more emails about it — it was incredible.

Thankfully another email that came was from reader Brian H. who “shot some grainy, shaky video. Enjoy!” You’ll find Mr. Mangum start singing at 2:06 here on “The Arrow Flies Close,” and you will probably get goosepimples.

And on the right all through “The Opera House,” going nuts as advertised:

He steps out late into this “I Have Been Floated.” You can wait until around 2:35, or you can wait until you hear everyone start screaming out of nowhere.

Good to see you, Jeff.