I know quite a few RR regulars are Decemberists’ fans (I’m looking at you, steen), so those of us on the UK side of the pond had a recent treat when they toured here in the wake of their new album, ‘The King is Dead”. I know bishbosh caught them in Glasgow. I was at Hammersmith Apollo for their closing gig a couple of weeks back, where they played a setlist ranging across all their output, with the highlight for me being a 25 minute mini-suite of the complete Crane Wife 1-3. (I was a bit freaked out to find my seat was pretty much the same one I sat in when I saw the Beatles here in 1964 – fortunately the crowd screamed a bit less). The Decemberists’ anglophilia, erudite lyrics, and reinvention of the folk-rock story ballad – often bloodthirsty or bleak – really works for me. Colin Meloy, the lead singer and creative powerhouse of the band, is possibly a marmite voice, but I’m a fan. See what you think in this little medley of snatches from the gig.

15 thoughts on “Decemberists!

  1. Do like the new album – stripping down the sound really worked, compared to some of the indugences on the last one. Crane Wife is the only album I can take in a single sitting because of the marmite factor. At their best, there is a wonderful imagination at work. Do sometimes wish Colin would focus that imagination directly on something current, rather than just myths, fairy tales & allegory.

    • There are some who really wish the Shankill Butchers were a myth! But I take your point…and agree about the new album -it’s really likeable at the very first listen. If you like that sort of thing!

  2. Weirdly, I was at the Hammersmith gig too – and glad I was as I think the setlist (while v similar) was marginally better than in Glasgow. I do think they could have worked a little harder to be visually exciting, but Colin M has such charisma that they got away with the plaid-shirts-n-guitars staging. Great, great frontman. Could have done without the massive preamble to the Mariner’s Revenge Song though – fun but it seemed to go on for about 20 minutes!

    • I’m so cross that I missed the Glasgow gig – and I missed you as well, bishbosh! Grrrrr, rats, dammit.

      • If you’d come, you could have met not only me (again), but also my identical twin brother. Would have been lovely to catch up. Ah well, another gig another time!

      • Stating the obvious, of course, but I’ve never known anything different. But in brief, it sets you up for a lifetime of comparison – that, if you’re me, you then internalise (usually to your detriment!). BTW, remember that conversation we had about telling my mum while I had the chance (kicked off by my Paddy Reilly earworm)? I emailed her this week doing just that. Thought you’d like to know!

  3. Darn it – the video won’t load because the boy are watching something on the other computer. Can’t wait to see it. And how I wish I could have seen the Decemberists with GHE, Bishbosh, and his twin brother! Does he have a moustache?

    I’ll comment again once I’ve seen the video.

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