The Decemberists/June 28, 2004/Great American Music Hall

I don’t really know what I was looking for, but a few days back I stumbled across the Great American Music Hall website where I became aware of the show by The Decemberists coming up.

I know very little about this band. Heard one of their records maybe twice (Her Majesty) after Diego -possibly, not sure- shared it with the rest of us not long ago. All in all, I was just looking for a concert to go out to, and this seemed like a good candidate.

Which means an accomplice was needed, with Antonio being the obvious and willing candidate. Colleen decided she would come along as well, even though she knew nothing about the band. Courageous move!

Two opening bands got things going. The Places was a duet led by Indigo Girls-sounding female lead vocalist/guitar player Amy Annelle. Mellow tunes, all subdued and kind of somber. Not an energy act, but not bad music either.

The Long Winters followed up with a much more upbeat if a little generic-sounding rock act. A rock act very much in the theatrical sense of the word as well, with a Jack Black-esque lead singer who kept making funny quips and references to keep a smile on our faces between songs, which worked quite effectively.

The Decemberists keep getting compared to the likes of Belle & Sebastian, Neutral Milk Hotel and others. Colin Meloy’s voice is interesting, and not what one would expect of a lead singer in terms of warmth and range. The songs benefit from interesting instrumentation (and accordion and upright bass made for some of the most interesting musical moments of the evening) though at the end of the day the band’s melodies and quirky lyrics are what made for a truly enjoyable night out.

Closing with Morrisey’s Ask sing-along didn’t hurt a single bit either, mind you!

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