It took years for Neutral Milk Hotel's magical Jeff Mangum to shake his Salinger mode and get back out on the road, and even now large-scale public performances remain elusive, but apparently all you've gotta do if you wanna hear the guy play is head down to Occupy Wall Street and shout out a cover request. About a year ago, he showed up to lead some NMH sing-alongs and play an acoustic version of the Minutemen's populist shredder, "Themselves."
As previously reported, Mangum and others were booked to play New York's Le Poisson Rouge last night in order to raise money for OWS offshoot Strike Debt, which aims to abolish predatory debt practices. Set up as a live stream and billed as a telethon, "The People's Bailout" variety show aimed to raise $50,000. Though how much bank was ultimately made hasn't been revealed, the show certainly delivered a rare gem in the above crowd-shot video.
In the clip, Mangum takes lead accompanied by Fugazi's Guy Picciotto for a cover of "Sign the Dotted Line" by New Zealand lo-fi pioneers the Tall Dwarfs. Mangum doesn't disappoint, delivering that sour-sweet sustained keen that's responsible for, like, at least 47 percent of the gut-wrenching emotion on 1998's In the Aeroplane Over the Sea. Stick it to the man and watch this at work. We did.