Led by the enigmatic Colin Melloy who is the glue that holds the show together, he is a witty raconteur between songs engaging the audience that welcomes us into their own private party transforming this 5000 person venue into an intimate club. Melloy has a very unique voice that sounds more like a British folkie than an American which is why it probably lends itself to the couple of sea shanties we hear later in the set.
The Decemberists hailing from Portland, Oregon, (must get across there) are a six piece tonight with most of the usual suspects in place. All are talented multi instrumentalists and it’s a shame tonight that the sound guy seemed a little off the pace, missing queues for example when Jenny Conlee hits the xylophone or the beginning of Chris Funk’s saxophone solo. Minor gripe aside its two hours of quirky pop rock where they regale us with tall tales of butchers, cutters, killers, Queens, Mariners and whales.
As with all Decemberists shows there is much crowd participation tonight with plenty of singalongs with varying success especially with ‘We all die Young’ which the audience eventually got right.
Selfishly I would like to have heard more from Hazards of Love but on reflection that album needs to be heard in its entirety so this opens up the setlist to tracks from throughout their career. That said the bulk of the show is from new album ‘I’ll be your girl’ and although it’s a cliché these new songs really come to life live and build on the studio versions. This is especially true of ‘Severed’ and ‘Sucker’s Prayer’.
No Decemberists show would be complete without set closer ‘The Mariners Revenge Song’ where we scream out our loudest shriek as we are eaten by an inflatable whale that swims around the stalls tonight.
Another great night in the company of these talented musicians who show that you can produce a super show and have fun with it too.
Keep on rockin y’all