Thursday, January 31, 2008

Ben Corner: Decemberists

I went to a Decemberists concert last night at the Moore Theater. The Decemberists are apparently an "indie" rock band from Portland who like singing about historical topics. I have all their songs on my iPod. NPR loves them. I've included an image to help you image what this band might sound like. To help describe how cool they are I'm including the following virtual string of consciousness section. Note: I'm wearing my Greek fisherman hat in the audience.

"Crane Wife" minute 1: Wow the lead singer sound greats. He plays guitar too. And this isn't Johnny Cash strum-along, he's playing the thing. This is a great song hopefully they'll play the all three movements...

"Crane Wife" minute 5: Yup, flawless transition into the second movement. Nice steel guitar action; a truly underutilized instrument in rock music. I never would have imaged the back up singer was the drummer. With how high the harmony is I assumed it was the female keyboardist...

"Crane Wife" minute 12: Whoa, the lead singer just switched to another instrument for the third movement. What the heck is it? It has eight strings like a mandolin but it's the size of a guitar and a different shape... A mandocello? Sounds great, whatever it is. Four more minutes or so to go in this one...

"Eli the Barrow boy" minute 2: Nice simple song with nice boy-girl harmony. Very sad. Oh my gosh. The auxiliary string player just pulled out a hurdy-gurdy. Are you kidding me?

"The Chimbly sweep" minute 7: This song started out well. He claimed it was autobiographical then went off talking about being an orphan chimney sweep. Somewhere along the way it got off course. During the guitar solo he got the crowd doing group calisthenics. What the heck? We want less weird, more sailors getting swallowed by whales!

"Culling the Fold" minute 2: This song somehow didn't make it onto my iPod. The main line is "It's gonna break your Heart to have to break his bones, but someone gotta do it! Culling the fold; you gotta cut him up girl!" if I didn’t know what "cull" meant I'd be less freaked out by this song.

End of encore: Good times. They sounded amazing live; I'd say even better than their studio recordings. There was probably 20 minutes worth of feedback crap at the end of songs they could have cut out. They could have fit in three more songs. Too bad some of my favorite songs apparently aren't the "fan favorites":
"Mariner's Revenge", "California Wine", and "The Island".

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