last night I went to UB with breanne and justin (and two freshman we gave a ride too, one who happens to be in my religion class) to see The Decemberists
. nich and jason came as well, but in a separate car.
we stopped for food at ted's (hot dog and burger place) beforehand, and got to the venue right around 8. breanne and justin wanted to buy some merchandise so as soon as we found our seats the opener (My Brightest Diamond
) left. I could sort of here her from outside and she/they sounded pretty decent. i heard mixed reviews from the people inside so i'm not too upset about missing it.
anyways, our seats were really awesome, 13 rows from the front on the left side (it was a seated venue). a really nice view of the whole stage. we only waited about 30 minutes before the show started while they switched sets. the backdrop for the show was beautiful, it was this painted canvas-cloth with a forest scene, although it wasn't really in a forest. the edge of a forest is closer to the description, because in the foreground was a body of water (pond? sea? lake? maybe i would have a better idea if i knew the actual fable about the crane wife, but oh well) where a waterfall was flowing into. and the sky was littered with stars and a full moon, and there were deer, fish, butterflies, and other animals painted on. needless to say my crappy description does it no justice, but you can catch a few glimpses of it from here: http://www.pitchforkmedia.com/article/news/41862-photos-the-decemberists-jersey-city-nj-032107
as you can see, there were also spherical japanese paper laterns, and the lighting for the show was really good too.
on to the music! the show started with fanfare playing for a few minutes before the band came on, which was kind of ridiculous. and then they came on with fancy-schmancy outfits that really fit the set, so that was fun. personally, i think they did a really great job. they didn't deviate much from the way songs sounded on the album (although O Valencia! was a bit funkier), but it still sounded great. i really liked the island (i'm not going to list the full title cuz it's really long), especially the first section of it live, it sounded awesome. they played billy liar too which i really wanted to hear! i'm only disappointed because i wanted to hear july, july live very badly but to no avail. but i think the rest of the show made up for it, because they played a really nice selection. a good chunk of the crane wife, which is obviously expected, but lots of other good choices.
and the one thing that really made up for the fact that they didn't play july, july was that they played the mariner's revenge song. personally, it's not one of my favorite songs of theirs, but the part in the song where the giant whale comes and eats the two survivors was accompained by an actual giant whale, made of paper machîer, cloth, and the like that came around and ate all the band members. and it even had evil, red eyes reminscent of laser pointers. so that was pretty much the most amazing thing ever. and the whole band added an element to the song, because of their actions and their movements on stage. so that was definitely worth not hearing july, july.
another incident i really enjoyed was when colin meloy asked steve (i'm assuming the guy in charge of the lights) to bathe the stage in red light, and then proceeded to play 'shankill butchers.' preeettty sweeeet.
so enough of my blabbering about the show, here's the set list (in a pretty unorganized fashion):
the crane wife 1 & 2
grace cathedral hill
yankee bayonet (with my brightest diamond as the female vocals)
16 military wives
the perfect crime #2
when the war came
eli, the barrow boy
the mariner's revenge song
i actually don't know the name of the song they opened with, and i think there were actually some more songs but i have a pretty bad memory. they did close with when the war came, which i thought they would (either that or 'sons and daughters') because it's a good song to end a show with. most of the people i went with don't like that song, but it's one of my favorites off of the new album, so i was happy to hear it. they played for about an hour and 40 minutes, with a lot of really amusing interjections from colin. he has pretty great stage presence in terms of humor, but i must say, near the end of when the war came, he didn't quite pull of the 'the music is going crazy so i'm going to become the psychotic lead man' vibe so much. but maybe he wasn't going for that. regardless, he was really amusing and interacted really well with the crowd. and i love crowd participation (like the la de da de da dididedide da's on 16 military wives... it was a battle between the seated and the standing folks)!
overall, one of the better shows i've been too, with amazing sound quality and a good set (and a good band!). i'm starting to like seated venues more and more, but deep down i think i still love general admission shows too. i also recorded a fair amount of songs on my phone and the quality was pretty good so now i get to pick a new ringtone :)