Ramblings of a Redhead Music Snob

Life & Music in New York, My City

Wait Until December…(The Decemberists)

Posted by xneverwherex on July 17, 2007

7/16/07

Now, please don’t ask me how whenever I hear the name the Decemberists, I dont think about the Russian revolutionists, but I think of the 80’s band Until December. And they don’t sound anything alike, but I digress.

So, last night I was very lucky to have a friend phone me this weekend and invite me to the show. His friend was unable to make it. Now, to be perfectly fair, I could have seen them long ago, but I was convinced I couldn’t stand them. But a) this was a benefit show for the Summerstage Festival in Central Park  and b) it was free, so naturally I went. The money goes to Central Park so that there can be free shows throughout the summer. I really recommend checking out their website if interested in the shows. I assure you, I will be attending a few of them.

My friend and I arrived there just around 6pm. Trains were a nightmare, but what more can be said about the Transit. We secured spots on the bleachers, as the front was already packed with doors at 5pm. We had a great view of the stage. I had really wanted to see Land of Talk, so I was very glad that we arrived in time to see them. And they did not disappoint. Definitely made for the club type venues, it was hard to sit back and just enjoy the music without jumping around. It was a bit heavier than Decemberists music, but the 3-some performed well together. The woman lead singer had a great voice. It was a 30 minute set that just flew by.

Next up – Grizzly Bear. If I wrote *snoozefest* that’d describe my summation of them. While musically, they are very talented, their songs were quite long and were drawn out. I am not sure that they were the right band to open, as about half way through their set, their music was drowned out by all the talking.

The highlight of the night was The Decemberists. Is it too late to jump on the bandwagon? To all my friends who I just never understood with their huge liking of the band, I now can see why. Their live performance was phenomenal. While the lead singer of Land of Talk and Grizzly Bear lacked stage performance, Colin Meloy is one hell of a front-man. The band played a tight set and were very time conscientious. Colin said early on that there’d be less banter than usual, so they could play more music for us. All of the shows at Summerstage have to be done by 10pm. Needless to say, most bands have to rip through material to get through all of the stuff.

 Colin gets a lot of credit for keeping the set going at a rip-roaring pace and getting lots of tunes in for a 90 minute set.  They opened with July, July and what a way to start the night. He told us from the get-go he was going to make this set as summery as possible, which is kind of funny considering some of their songs. The set list consisted of:

1. July, July
2. Billy Liar
3. Summersong
4. The Perfect Crime #2
5. The Sporting Life
6. From My Own True Love (Lost at Sea)
7. The Engine Driver
8. The Crane Wife 3
9. The Island: Come & See / The Landlord’s Daughter / You’ll Not Feel the Drowning
10. O Valencia!
11. Sons and Daughters

12. Red Right Ankle
13. Oceanside
14. Chimbly Sweep
15. The Mariner’s Revenge Song

 I LOVE the song Perfect Crime #2 and live it was amazing. While I’ve read that people have been very disappointed with their sound and instruments aside from Meloy’s voice, I would disagree. For an outdoor venue, Meloy’s voice was exceptional, but I also thought John (drummer) sounded really great, along with the guitars, banjos, cellos, violins and every other instrument that was used. The only thing I really missed out on, is that they dont have an orchestra playing with them. I can only imagine how amazing that would have sounded, but for my first experience I wasnt complaining.

There were some crowd sing-alongs that worked out perfectly, but I was surprised it didn’t seem louder than it was. I also loved the intro to O Valencia! How can I not chuckle when he’s talking about the gangs on Valencia in SF.

Chimbly Sweep should get a standing (or would that be laying down) ovation. Colin puts each of the band members to sleep on stage, as one by one they fall over. And if that wasnt enough, he does the same for the audience, and gets everyone at the show to sit down in the grass, to a near dead silence. As the music crescendos the place erupts and everyone is jumping around. It was pure brilliance!

Now, that could have been the way to end a show, but at 9:50 they begin the Mariner’s Revenge Song, and my friend comments to me the song is 10 minutes long. And what a great song it was. Definitely a song made to played live, with audience participation as well as we’re being eaten by the whale, with hand chomping movements to go along with it. Just think Moby Dick.

Brilliant show and I was so glad I made it out. I am pretty sure I became a huge fan after this performance!

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4 Responses to “Wait Until December…(The Decemberists)”

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  2. Music-Band said

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    k, just want to say hi 🙂
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