Thursday, January 31, 2008

The Decemberists Winter in Seattle



Photo compliments of www.decemberists.com

After canceling their world tour due to an illness of a group member, the Decemberists came back to play at that city by the Sound. While I didn't catch their opening act's name last night, they were certainly entertaining. The lead singer sounded something along the lines of a Matt Costa who was trying a bit too hard to weather & scratchify his voice. It got to be a bit grating, but they certainly had a solid rythm section thanks to the retarded monkey that stood on stage left. He had a beautiful set of congas, a couple of musical shakey-rattley devices and a tambourine that he used to beat the congas while jumping up and down. Smiling and spiddleing all over his set the guy was having a hell of a time up there. I remember my buddy Noyes would loose his shit every time I even thought of playing his congas while I were wearing a ring on my finger for fear of damaging the instrument's skins. Imagine what these skins must look like after being beat by a furry primate with a tambourine! Every time I looked at this guy, I just couldn't hold back the laughter. I imagined that if my friends had lashed together a somewhat successful band and went on tour, I would most probably play his part. 'Dan's cool, but he doesn't know how to play a single thing except for that little egg with the sand in it. But he sure does look happy jumpin' around up there, doesn't he?'


Set Break - After a whopping 30 minutes of playing. The opening act said their goodbyes, packed their monkey into his cage and left the stage. Can't drink in the theater. And we couldn't muster the motivation to battle the crowd at the bar for $7 Makers & Cokes. So, we sat & waited over an hour for the show to start...


Just as I was thinking these guys better wow me after keeping us waiting that long in between acts, Colin Meloy took the stage. As the opening song unfolded each player found their position on stage. One by one they wove themselves into the rich tapestry that is the Crane Wife. It was a beautiful experience, and I could have truly left the theatre content after hearing only that one song. I have never heard such a voice; so distinctly clear, yet stirring. The show picked up momentum from there until it boiled over into a heaving, frothy stew rich in both vocabulary and feeling. Writhing on the ground, instruments clutched in hand, the Decemberists apparently had tied just the right buzz on.


Meloy's words tell of corduroy clad street urchins who have drowned in lost rivers and mariners seeking revenge while in the belly of a whale. Their songs reek of brine. And I love it! I was slightly surprised to see such a young crowd playing the part of bookend by the 60 somethings sharing the theater. All ages show indeed. And Meloy knows how to entertain these young fans that swarm the front of the stage. Grabbing a cell phone from a fan, Meloy calls someone from the contact list then screams the words from Culling of the Fold into the receiver. Bestowing a rock and roll moment that teeny bopper will never forget.

Would I see them again? You be your sweet patutty I would. But I'll only see them again if it is an 18 and older show. The band clearly catered to the younger crowd this evening. With their tried & true rock n' roll antics that we've all grown tired of seeing night after night at our favorite dive bars, they forced more than one eye roll out of me. There was a bit too much self indulgent crowd seeking, speaker jumping, bass humping for me to get into. They are amazing lyricists and fantastically geeky musicians. So maybe a little less dropping to the ground and writhing on the stage and a bit more playing of the music. Guys, what do ya say?

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