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Music review

Neutral Milk Hotel

Neutral Milk Hotel

Barrowland, Glasgow

Lisa-Marie Ferla

If you grew up as one of those weird kids who was Into Music over everything else, Neutral Milk Hotel were almost certain to be one of your musical touchstones.

Every single one of us weird kids were squeezed into a Barrowlands sweat-pit on Monday night, watching a band that we never thought we'd get the chance to see in our lifetimes.

With more reunited bands touring on the strength of 90s nostalgia these days than the average 30-something has the disposal income for, it's hard to explain what's different about having the "In The Aeroplane Over The Sea"-era lineup back together again.

I could point to that album's perpetual inclusion near the top of any best-albums-of-whatever-and-whenever list you'd like, I guess, but I don't think I knew myself until I heard the opening notes of King of Carrot Flowers Part 1 strummed for real by a bearded and nondescript Jeff Mangum.

Turns out that weird little song from that weird little record you used to listen to alone on your headphones was written to be sung along to by 2000 people so loudly you could hardly hear what was happening on the stage.

And so we cried together to Oh Comely and danced together to Song Against Sex; we cheered every time Scott Spillane recreated the horn arrangements that on record gave us chills or Julian Koster's musical saw made the room spin; and we found out that the men who created these otherworldly songs were in fact the sort of nice, normal people who made sure that the sweating crowd had plenty of water.

Turns out that when you share your best-kept secret around, it loses none of its magic.

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