The School House in Brooklyn Gets a Reclusive Indie God Out of the House
By Jenine Clancy
Anyone part of the local scene for sometime knows it’s always a right of passage to proclaim you knew a band “way back when.” However, what if it was in reverse? What if an already established musician decided to randomly come out of hiding to play a show, giving you the credentials to brag I witnessed history being made? Well, if you were one of 75 people at The School House in Brooklyn Friday night then you would have witnessed Neutral Milk Hotel frontman Jeff Magnum make a rare appearance performing songs off the band’s, now legendary albums, “On Avery Island” and “In the Aeroplane Over the Sea.” The 90’s indie band who disbanded after the 1998 release of “In the Aeroplane Over the Sea,” has been looked at as a band way ahead of its’ time. Stuck in-between post-grunge and the height of the alternative wave, Neutral Milk Hotel boisterous instrumentation and lyrical content gained the band some critical success. Not knowing something is good until it’s gone, NMH grew in popularity as time went on. In “Aeroplane Over the Sea” the album was rumored (and now confirmed) to be about the life of Anne Frank, making it at the time, unique for an indie band to do a concept album, way before concept albums were the cool thing to do. In an interview with Pitchfork Ben Goldberg of Ba Da Bing Records, who helped set up the show, says, "I really can't say what this means in terms of future performances. This was a last minute show, done intentionally without buildup to let it be as simple and easy going as possible. It seems to have gone exactly like that. What I honestly feel like I saw tonight wasn't The Greatest Musician In The World Performing The Most Amazing Songs Ever, but rather a fantastic musician performing his wonderful songs. God, I have to say that is so much more gratifying than trying to look at it as a life -altering event. I bet others who were there would agree with me."