Entries tagged with: The Decemberists
Portland singer-songwriter Laura Veirs is set to release her ninth album, Warp and Weft, on August 20 via her own Raven Marching Band label. The record features guest appearances from Jim James, k.d. lang, Neko Case, Brian Blade and members of old pals The Decemberists and more. You can stream the first released track from it, "Sun Song," over at NPR.
Not too long after the album's release, Laura will head out on tour, including a stop in NYC at Mercury Lounge on September 19. Tickets to that show go on sale Friday (5/31) at noon. All tour dates are listed below.
The Decemberists in Austin in 2011 (more by Tim Griffin)
It's been a while since we've heard from The Decemberists, but the band's members are still finding ways to keep busy. Their side project, Black Prairie, whose lineup now includes four of the five Decemberists members (Chris Funk, Nate Query, Jenny Conlee, and John Moen -- aka everyone except Colin Meloy), released a new album this year which is a "soundtrack" for New York Times magazine writer Jon Mooallem's book, Wild Ones. You can stream that album in its entirety below, and read what Jon Mooallem had to say about it at Slate.
Black Prairie are also going on a tour which includes previously discussed stops at Bonnaroo and Newport Folk Festival. The tour hits NYC for a show with Michael Hurley at City Winery on July 29, the day after they play Newport Folk Festival. Tickets for that show are on sale now.
Colin Meloy plays Newport Folk Fest too, so if he and his bandmates don't team up for at least one Decemberists song, that's just cruel and unusual. It's one of three solo shows Colin has scheduled (all festivals, none in NYC). All upcoming Black Prairie and Colin Meloy dates are listed below.
Finally, as mentioned, John Moen is releasing a new solo album, Revise Your Maps, on June 25 via Jealous Butcher Records. We already posted the song "Ramble Scramble" from that album, and John just released the album's title track, which you can stream below (via Billboard).
Chris Funk of Black Prairie/Decemberists in Austin in 2011 (more by Tim Griffin)
Decemberists side project Black Prairie released their new album, A Tear in the Eye is a Wound in the Heart, this past September and went on a tour which brought them to NYC earlier this month for a show at Mercury Lounge (11/10). They'll be touring again in January and will return to NYC on January 16 at Union Hall with John Wesley Harding. Tickets for that show are on sale now.
Chris Funk of Black Prairie/Decemberists was one of the producers for the new Holidays Rule compilation, which features Black Prairie teaming up with Sallie Ford for a cover of the old holiday chesnut, "Man with the Bag." That compilation and the new Black Prairie album are on sale for 20% off at the Black Prairie webstore for the holidays. You can listen to a sample of Black Prairie and Sallie Ford's cover of "Man with the Bag" below.
Speaking of John Wesley Harding, he's got other upcoming shows, including the previously mentioned Cabinet of Wonders show in NYC at City Winery on December 16. John has since revealed more guests for that show, and the lineup now includes Fountains of Wayne, Josha Ferris, Colum McCann, Eugene Mirman, John Oliver, Ron Sexsmith, The Silver Ages, and David Wax Museum (who also play Mercury Lounge this week). It's far from the only place to catch Eugene Mirman in NYC this month and next. Tickets for the Cabinet of Wonders show are on sale now.
Lists of dates and song stream below.
Mastodon fans (more by Greg Cristman)
Bon Iver was nominated for four high profile Grammys (though not "Album of the Year" which is what Arcade Fire won). Adele & Katy Perry nominated for a zillion, and other nominees include The Black Keys, Foster the Peepee, Cee Lo, Duck Sauce, Robyn, Cut Copy, Skrillex, Deadmau5, Coldplay, Radiohead, Mumford & Son, Mastodon, Wilco, Death Cab For Cutie, My Morning Jacket, Jay-Z, Kanye West, The Civil Wars, Emmylou Harris, Levon Helm, Fleet Foxes, Gillian Welch, Steve Earle, Patton Oswalt, Louis CK, Weird Al, Danger Mouse, Memory Tapes, TV On the Radio, A Tribe Called Quest, etc...
photos by Tim Griffin
"The Decemberists were perfect. So great to have Jenny Conlee back on stage.. bald and beautiful from fighting cancer. One of her first shows" - CrystalAnne
After taking some time off to fight cancer (she missed Bonnaroo, Newport and Prospect Park), a brave and beautiful Jenny Conlee returned to the stage at Stubb's last night, joining the Decemberists once again as they headlined the large Austin venue with Caitlin Rose as support. A set of pictures from the show, Decemberists setlist included, continues below..
photos by Jim Brueckner
Newport Folk Festival took place in Rhode Island this past weekend (7/30-31). Day one featured performances by The Felice Brothers, Delta Spirit, Gogol Bordello, Tegan and Sara, Gillian Welch, Mavis Staples (who was joined by Colin Meloy), The Decemberistsand others. Pictures from that day are in this post. If you missed the fest, you can listen to archives of the sets at NPR.
The Felice Brothers, who are no longer playing Truck America, added Nicole Atkins as an opener to their 9/29 Webster Hall show. Tickets are still on sale. You can also catch Nicole tonight (8/3) at Bowery Ballroom when she opens for Fountains of Wayne.
today in NYC
* Chola @ Barbes
* Whiplash @ UCB
* Chicha Libre @ Barbes
* Blue Note Jazz Festival
* Bob Dylan book event @ NYPL
* Zongo Junction, Turkuaz @ Brooklyn Bowl
* The Kooks, Smoke Signals @ Bowery Ballroom
* Lou Reed reading Edgar Allan Poe @ Strand Books
* Hot Tub with Kurt and Kristen, Ted Leo @ Littlefield
* Jim Lauderdale, Sam Friend, I Low @ The Living Room
* Karl Berger's Stone Workshop Orchestra @ The Stone
* Golden Animals, Sky Picnic, Twin Killers @ Cameo Gallery
* Gross Relations, Magic Man, Conveyor, Arms & Legs @ Pianos
* Gnarwhal, Datus, Suite Unraveling, Gutbucket @ Death By Audio
* Prince Rama, Jabon, Dada Trash Collage, Pavel Nunez @ Silent Barn
* Nation Beat, The Stick-Ups, Afuche, Knights on Earth @ Mercury Lounge
* Jump Into The Gospel, Your 33 Black Angels, Hospitality @ The Rock Shop
* DJs Max & Sören, Hundred in the Hands, DJ Ivan Rodriguez @ Le Poisson Rouge
* Trial, Another Breath, The Saddest Landscape, Powerwolves, Don't Give A Fuck @ The Studio at Webster Hall
The Godfather Part II is screening at The Elevated Acre at 55 Water Street.
HBO Bryant Park Summer Film Festival continues today with The 39 Steps.
The Decemberists recorded an NPR Tiny Desk Concert for NPR. Check it out below...
photos by Jessica Amaya, words by Andrew Sacher
I arrived a little late to Prospect Park last night (6/14) for the first Celebrate Brookln benefit show of the 2011 season and only caught the second half of Best Coast's 30 minute set. They handled the large venue well though, and I regret not being able to get there sooner. Not long after I entered the venue, it started raining and by the end of Best Coast's set, the audience was almost entirely covered by umbrellas.
It was still raining when The Decemberists took the stage for the sold out show. Jenny Conlee was unfortunately absent, but Colin Meloy dedicated a song to her and mentioned that Team Jenny merchandise was available, and that she is going to recover. The band was joined on stage by Sara Watkins (Nickel Creek) on fiddle and vocals, like they were at Bonnaroo. Their fairly consistent set was pretty heavy on The King Is Dead material and a few older, yet equally accessible ones which made for a seemingly quick show. However, the band were able to sneak in a couple of the more explorative songs, including the borderline-sludge "Won't Want For Love" and the progressive-leaning "The Bagman's Gambit, without dragging the set.
About halfway through the show, the rain completely stopped and Prospect Park's roof of umbrellas came down, revealing how packed the venue really was. Despite playing to such a huge crowd, Colin Meloy was as quirky as someone playing a backyard show (he did note that Eugene Mirman told him Prospect Park was literally his backyard). Colin prefaced "We Both Go Down Together" by telling us that they'd like to go into their joint-suicide material, made tons of whimsical jokes about the rain, and even choreographed an audience-wide school-choir styled hand dance. And even while performing much of the lighter Neil Young-meets-R.E.M. alt-country of the new album, he made it clear that he's still a rocker at heart (not unlike Neil Young, I mean, they don't call many folk singers the "godfather of grunge"). After getting our permission to go to a 'darker place,' Meloy asked that the stage be 'bathed in red,' and the band went into the dark intensity of "The Rake's Song." Chris Funk and Sara Watkins abandoned their usual instruments to drum along, forcing the song to hit even harder than it does on record.
The Decemberists ended their 15-song set with a King is Dead standout, "This is Why We Fight," and left momentarily before Colin and John Moen returned to the stage for the first encore to perform "Raincoat Song" together, but not before telling a story about John not being able to identify a Pink Floyd song playing in a Park Slope coffee shop earlier that day. It's unclear what coffee shop it was, but the story hilariously included a snotty barista and a reminder that John previously played Prospect Park with Stephen Malkmus and the Jicks (who announced a tour earlier that day).
John, who sang harmonies on the song ("Raincoat Song"), messed up a few lines but quickly covered it up by adding in lighthearted dialogue with Colin. After the song ended, John returned to his drums and the two were joined by the rest of the band for a cover of Fruit Bats' "When U Love Somebody." The encore ended with an elongated version of "The Chimbley Sweep," complete with the usual playfully dissonant "guitar duel" (as Colin referred to it) between him and Chris Funk, a Sara Watkins fiddle solo, and some slightly awkward crowd surfing on Colin's part (video below). The band contrasted the oddly epic end of their first encore by returning to the stage for the soft alluring "June Hymn". The almost-full moon in the sky, as Colin pointed out, added to the beauty of the surroundings.
Side note: Celebrate Brooklyn is now providing concessions with the help of The Farm on Adderley, rather than Two Boots, who have done it in the past. The new menu has four categories of food including food on a stick, on a bun, in a cup, and vegetable fry. Check out the full menu. (editor's note: I miss the corn and watermelon! And the food lines seem much longer now. Two Boots seemed to know how to move people along better. Maybe it will get better.)
More pictures from the show, the setlist and a video of Colin Meloy in the crowd below...
Two New York men who got arrested here Friday never made it to Bonnaroo. That's because law officers allegedly found they were carrying over a pound of cocaine, 1,000 ecstasy pills, marijuana, and drug paraphernalia.Bonnaroo happened this weekend. Pictures of Karen Elson from Day One are HERE, with the rest of Day one HERE. Pictures of Decemberists from Day Two HERE. Days 3 & 4 & stuff coming soon. The rest of Day Two below....
Alberto R. Almonte, 40, and Joseph Cruz, 29, both of the Bronx, N.Y., are charged with possession of drugs for sale and possession of drug paraphernalia. Almonte is also charged with speeding.
According to the Tennessee Highway Patrol, it was around 2 p.m. Friday when Trooper Matilda Mahaney clocked a 2006 Chevrolet Impala doing 83 in a 55 mile-per-hour zone on Highway 111 in Putnam County.
The trooper stopped the car "and discovered that the two occupants were enroute to Bonnaroo in Manchester," says a news release from the THP. [Herald Citizen]
photos by Dana (Distortion) Yavin
The Decemberists @ Bonnaroo
Are the Decemberists breaking up?
"Nothing could be farther from the truth," Meloy said Saturday on his tour bus in the parking lot behind Bonnaroo's big stage. "With this record I feel we have a whole world in front of us with plenty of options and I'm excited to continue writing music for The Decemberists and performing with The Decemberists."Unlike at Sasquatch at the end of May, Jenny did not play with the Decemberists at Bonnaroo, and she is not expected at Prospect Park on Tuesday. The Brooklyn show is sold out, but if you don't have a ticket you can always still sit outside the fence and listen.
He just wants to do something else for a while.
Driven by a powerful lead song, "Down by the Water," that featured harmony from Gillian Welch, "The King is Dead" hit No. 1 on the all-genre Billboard 200 earlier this year, a rare feat for an indie folk rock band known for its challenging material. A top-selling record is often a bonanza for a band and the impulse is to tour nonstop to capitalize on the opportunity.
Yet The Decemberists will wind down touring in August and won't tour in the fall. Instead Meloy, who calls himself "compulsively creative," will begin promoting his new illustrated young adult book "Wildwood," the first in a fantasy series for HarperCollins he plans to produce with his wife, the artist Carson Ellis. The book idea predates The Decemberists when Meloy worked in a pizza place and played open mic gigs and Ellis worked in a bar and painted in her free time.
"I've managed to pull it off over the last year and a half but it owes a lot to chance and luck and, thankfully, some creative epiphanies," Meloy said. "I think it would water down both things if I tried to do them at the same time."
He also would like to write a musical and tackle a studio project or two during this ... quiet period? And he wants to spend more time at home to be with his son, Hank, who is autistic.
The other members of the Portland, Ore.-based band have things to focus on as well. Founding accordion and keyboard player Jenny Conlee was diagnosed with breast cancer this spring and sat out the band's summer dates. [AP/NY Times]
More pictures and a couple of videos from Bonnaroo below...
photos by Josh Darr
"The Decemberists must have brainstormed many ways to follow the massively ambitious, best-selling 2008 "folk opera" The Hazards of Love: After all, not every Decemberists album can feature a large supporting cast, interlocking narratives and a generous body count. The hyper-literate Portland, Ore., band made a canny move in simplifying its attack on this year's The King Is Dead, which focuses on Colin Meloy's gift for bright, infectious roots-folk songwriting.Support Team Jenny by buying one of the above t-shirts over at the Decemberists' website. All net proceeds will be donated to Susan G. Komen for the Cure. A few pictures from their Monday Sasquatch set (which is streaming at NPR) below...
Recorded live at The Gorge on Monday, May 30 as part of the 2011 Sasquatch Music Festival outside Seattle, Wash., The Decemberists' members made this appearance at a heady time: Multi-instrumentalist Jenny Conlee is only weeks removed from a breast-cancer diagnosis. She wasn't expected to tour with the band in May or June, but she nevertheless made the trip as she prepares to undergo further treatment."
The Outside Lands Festival, which runs from 8/12 - 8/14 in Golden Gate Park in San Francisco, released their 2011 lineup in April (and now it's May, so consider this a catch up post). Tickets are on sale.
This year's fest will appearances from The Shins, Muse, Arcade Fire, Arctic Monkeys, The Black Keys, Phish (two sets), !!!, Erykah Badu, Big Audio Dynamite (who played Coachella and are also playing Lollapalooza), Girl Talk and many more. The full lineup is below.
Jenny Conlee @ Beacon Theater in January (more by Dominick Mastrangelo)
A Note from Colin and JennyGet better soon Jenny! We'll miss you in Prospect Park. All Decemberists tour dates (May, June, and beyond) and the band's new video for "This is Why We Fight," below...
About a month ago, we all at Decemberists HQ got hit with some pretty hard news. Jenny Conlee, our since-the-very-beginning accordion and keyboard player and all-around rad person was diagnosed with breast cancer. If you or anyone in your world has been handed a similar diagnosis, you know what a bolt-out-of-the-blue this news can be.
The good news is that Jenny caught it early. And while the prognosis is very, very good for a full recovery, tackling the disease will mean some intensive treatment for our Jenny as well as a lot of important recovery time.
So I'm writing this to say that, weighing our options, and with Jenny's fervent blessings, we've decided to go forward with our scheduled tour dates this spring and summer.
What we know now: Jenny will very likely miss all nine of our concerts in May and June. We're all hoping that her recovery will be such that she'll be able to get back on board as soon as possible.
And now, a note from Jenny:
Hello to Everyone,
I am very sorry to say that I will be missing a few shows coming up as I go through treatment for breast cancer. It has been great to be on tour these past few weeks. The band and crew are like family to me and have been incredibly supportive and understanding. To be making music with everyone and seeing the fans has helped me to feel more positive and keep my mind off of my diagnosis. But, alas, as the tour winds down, it is time for me to get back to reality. I will try to get into surgery as soon as I can after we return from this leg of the tour so I can begin my recovery. There are still a few unknowns out there concerning my cancer, but I am thinking positive and hope to be back on the road soon. Thanks for all of your support! See you soon!
Lots of love,
Thanks for everyone's understanding during this crazy time.
today in NYC
* Whiplash @ UCB
* David Yazbek @ 92YTribeca
* Joy Orbison, Francois K @ Cielo
* Julian Lage, Chris Eldrige @ Barbes
* Alarm Will Sound, ETHEL @ Le Poisson Rouge
* The Drums, Matthew Dear @ Knitting Factory
* Hot Tub with Kurt and Kristen @ Littlefield
* Ginal Leishman's In My Skin Quartet @ Barbes
* Matt Jones, Chimneys, The Long Eye @ Zebulon
* Toro y Moi, Braids, Adventure @ Bowery Ballroom
* 67 Mob, The Untouchable DJ Drastic @ Southpaw
* Jonny Corndawg, Shovels and Rope @ Brooklyn Bowl
* Tony Scherr Trio, Hayley Sales, Ben Carroll @ The Living Room
* Small Beast w/ Mazz Swift, Mathias Kunzil & more @ The Delancey
* Eddie Jobson, John Wetton (U.K. Reunion Tour) @ Highline Ballroom
* Jim Campilongo Electric Trio, Stephan Crump, Tony Mason @ The Living Room
* The Builders and The Butchers, Damion Suomi & the Minor Prophets, Matt Lowell @ Mercury Lounge
* The Crusher, Dawn Drake & Zapote, Vinyl Gypsy, Eggplant Queens, PFJ Band, Marques Toliver (Rock for Relief - benefit for Japan) @ Cameo Gallery
Jonny Corndawg plays his 2nd of four Brooklyn Bowl shows tonight. We're giving away a whole bunch of tickets to each show.
The Decemberists recently performed "Calamity Song" on Kimmel. Check out the video below...
"An exciting mix of folk music's founding voices and modern favorites highlights the 52nd edition of the Newport Folk Festival® when it returns to Newport's Fort Adams State Park July 30-31, it was announced today by the Newport Festivals Foundation, the recently-formed 501 (c)(3) non-profit organization which produces the event.This year's lineup will bring lots of great artists to Rhode Island in July. The Decemberists (who play Brooklyn 1.5 months earlier), Gillian Welch, Tegan & Sara, Delta Spirit, Mavis Staples, Wanda Jackson, Emmylou Harris, M Ward, Elvis Costello, Middle Brother (proof that the supergroup is not done yet) and even the PS22 chorus are on the list which you can see in full below...
Tickets go on sale worldwide on Thursday, March 31, at 10:00 am at www.newportfolkfest.net.
The Decemberists @ Beacon Theater (more by Chris Gersbeck)
If you were wondering what ever happened to that Decemberists / Best Coast show happenning in Prospect Park on June 14th, well it's back as part of an official Decemberists tour announcement that also includes more Best Coast shows, and a bunch with Justin Townes Earle. A presale is happening NOW. Look for Brooklyn tickets to appear back on Ticketmaster this week.
"In other Decemberists news, the band has introduced a Create-Your-Own Polaroid Slideshow on Decemberists.com where fans can pick from more than 2,000 of the Polaroids taken by photographer Autumn De Wilde during the recording of The King is Dead and sort them into a custom slideshow set to one of four album tracks.All tour dates below...
The band has also announced the April 16 release of Live At Bull Moose, a limited edition EP in conjunction with Record Store Day. The seven-track CD--which will be available exclusively through participating independent record stores--was recorded live at Bull Moose in Scarborough, Maine, and includes songs from The King Is Dead, as well as a cover of the country ballad "If I Could Only Win Your Love" by The Louvin Brothers."
John Wesley Harding and Eugene Mirman at LPR in 2009 (more by Tim Griffin)
"I wanted to bring together my novel writing friends (who mostly envy my musician friends) and my musician friends (who mostly envy my novel writing friends) under one flag," says John Wesley Harding. "Then add Eugene Mirman and his comedians of comedy... The fact is: I like everyone who's performing.Novelist/singer-songwriter John Wesley Harding brings his Cabinet of Wonders back to City Winery on March 11th. Joining him in his quest for the perfect variety show will be an all-star lineup featuring Andrew Bird, David Wax Museum, Paul Muldoon, Tift Merritt, Daniel Felsenfeld & The Jessold Consort, Eugene Mirman, JWH, Jonathan Coe and Kristin Hersh. A little more than a month later, he'll do it again with another show at City Winery on April 22, this time featuring "Rick Moody, Eugene Mirman & more". More details on that one TBA.
In between (and before) those dates, John Wesley Harding AKA Wesley Stace will do readings in and around the area, including one on 3/10 at Book Court in Brooklyn and one on 3/17 as part of a panel at LIO in Brooklyn. He'll be speaking about Charles Jessold, Considered as a Murderer, his new book. Maybe you read about it in the New York Times:
WESLEY STACE'S new book, "Charles Jessold, Considered as a Murderer," is both a murder mystery and a novel about classical music, with a character who sometimes assumes another identity. Mr. Stace, an enthusiastic, donnish Englishman with an honors degree in English literature from Jesus College, Cambridge, and a head stuffed full of historical trivia, is an expert on both double lives and music. Improbably, he is also John Wesley Harding, an Elvis Costello-like singer-songwriter and folk rocker who has released more than a dozen records and is cool enough to have enlisted most of the Decemberists as the backup band on a forthcoming album.Eugene Mirman talks with Stace about the book in a video you can watch below. Eugene Mirman can also be found at Union Hall in Brooklyn this Sunday, 3/6.
The David Wax Museum, who recently played their own show at City Winery (and who are part of John Wesley's Cabinet on 3/11), will also be at SXSW where you'll be able to catch them at a BrooklynVegan day party right at noon on Friday, 3/18 at Barbarella on Red River. Stay tuned for more details on that party coming shortly (but I can say it is the same one Middle Brother is playing later in the day). More David Wax dates at their website.
All Stace & Andrew Bird dates are below...
Decemberists at Beacon Theatre (more by Chris Gersbeck)
Though Colin Meloy and Jenny Conlee recently flexed their acting muscles (Portlandia videos below), we are happy to report that they aren't pulling a reverse Jared Leto and The Decemberists will return to the stage (they were meant for it). After a European tour in March and a U.S. tour in April, the band will start hitting festivals like Jazzfest and Sasquatch and the Celebrate Brooklyn series of shows!. They play the Prospect Park Bandshell on June 14th with Best Coast. Tickets for the 'benefit'
go on AmEx presale Wednesday at noon (3/2), and regular sale on Friday.... will go on sale soon (they pushed it back a week I think).
The Brooklyn show happens five days after Best Coast play Bonnaroo. All tour dates for both bands, a Best Coast vs. Nardwuar video & more, below...
Bonnaroo (June 9-12 in Manchester Tennessee) has announced the 2011 lineup (slightly early), and like the rumored Lollapalooza lineup, Eminem is among the headliners. Bonnaroo also has Grammy winners Arcade Fire and the Black Keys, in addition to Lil Wayne, Mumford & Sons, the Strokes, The Decemberists, Florence & the Machine, Girl Talk, Beirut (haven't seen them in a while), and many more. Full list below...
Big names and regulars aside, there are a few bands I want to highlight on the just-announced Sasquatch lineup: Wolf Parade ("indefinite hiatus" rumors be damned), The Flaming Lips (performing "The Soft Bulletin"), Death From Above 1979 (now three reunion shows total), Guided By Voices (they're not done yet), and... Archers of Loaf (!). The full lineup of the fest that goes down in Gorge, Washington in May (Memorial Day Weekend), is below...
the marquee on Night Two (more by Chris Gersbeck)
Shara Worden made a surprise appearance at last night's Decemberists show, the last of three Beacon Theatre shows for the Portland band who are currently #1 on the Billboard chart (as Colin Meloy acknowledged briefly at the show). Meloy also...
"...said that, because of the snow outside, they would be playing a "wintery mx" of songs, book-ended by two songs about summer. In between there were tracks from albums The Crane Wife, The Hazards of Love and the afore-mentioned best-selling The King is Dead. Each song was accompanied by a change in colour of the stage backdrop, which is also the cover of their latest album. They also roped in musicians from "The Decemberists Family " like Shara Worden (who guests on The Wanting Comes in Waves/Repaid) and Sara Watkins - such captivating singers that I want to hear more of." [Miss N-Tertaiment]You can hear more of Sharon Worden at Lincoln Center tonight (1/27), part of the American Songbook Series. You can hear more of Decemberists opener Wye Oak tonight at Rock Shop (if you have a way in) before they continue on the road with the Decemberists. Last night's Decemberists setlist and videos from the show are below...
Playing before The Decemberists is no easy task, but Merge duo Wye Oak was up for the challenge.
"Good evening. We're a couple of kids from Baltimore, Maryland... hot dog!" declared vocalist/guitarist Jenn Wasner with cool excitement. In light of Wasner's endearing banter and sweet demeanor, the duo's rocking sound is a nice contrast. This is not the stuff of wispy, sugar-coated singer-songwriters. Wasner's voice is surprisingly full bodied, and for two people, there's a lot going on musically. Andy Stack's ability to manage both the keyboard and the drums simultaneously is no small feat.
Wye Oak showcased some new material, including a selection of songs from their upcoming album, which drops on 3/8. "I wrote this song in a sweaty attic in Baltimore," Jenn said at one point. "Now I get to play it in a Broadway theatre. Life is strange."
Following Wye Oak's brief set (and nearly the entirety of a Mumford and Sons album courtesy of the sound guy), the lights dimmed, and a mysterious but congenial disembodied voice boomed through the darkness. "Good evening. Welcome to the show." No, it wasn't The Decemberists frontman Colin Meloy. It was a scripted pre-recorded intro of sorts, allegedly from Sam Adams, the mayor of Portland. Robo-Adams led the crowd in introductions and then began to set the scene for what promised to be a picturesque evening. "I'd like you to imagine you're standing on a windswept coastal rainforest somewhere in the deep Pacific northwest.'" Cue the chirping birds and flowing water.
"OK here we go," said Meloy as the band readied to play. "Night number two." Befitting the strange introduction, the backdrop of the stage was decorated with the silhouettes of pine trees against the sky - much like the artwork on the cover of the band's latest album which just hit #1 on the Billboard Top 200 chart.
For Monday night's show (night 1 or 3), the band had kicked off their set with a number of new songs, but at last night's show, they began with a ten-plus minute song from deep within their discography: "California One/Youth and Beauty Brigade."
It's hard to believe that nearly 9 years have passed since The Decemberists released Castaways and Cutouts. After the direction the band assumed for their last two albums, I was eager to hear what their latest would be like, and I didn't have to wait long.
"We have a new record out called The King is Dead, and we're going to play some songs off of that... among other things," Meloy stated after the chords of the first song had died out. "We have a long night together." What followed was a cascade of new songs, interrupted only briefly for the crowd-pleasing ballad "Red Right Ankle."
With The King is Dead, The Decemberists seem to have exchanged the slowly unfolding and meandering prog rock featured on their recent few albums, and turned back to tight songwriting in the more conventional 3-5 minute format. The new material is less frenzied and overblown than say, nearly anything on Hazards of Love. Absent are long-winded instrumental interludes and evidence of roll playing, strange characters, and period pieces. The King is Dead is far more immediate, which is good, considering just how much of the band's set was lifted from the album (only two of the new songs went unplayed). Much of the material may have been new, but it also felt somehow familiar - like a throwback to some of the band's earlier work. Fiddle player and vocalist Sara Watkins (of Nickel Creek) was a pleasant addition to the mix - especially as the widow in "The Chimbley Sweep."
Of course, we still got a taste of that gothic storybook rock. "Alright, we're going to go down the rabbit hole here a little," Meloy said by way of introducing the Crane Wife suite.
Spirits were high throughout the evening. Meloy and the band succeeded in engaging the audience with their dramatic antics and candid banter. At one point, Meloy turned the mic on the audience and pitted the orchestra against the balcony for what turned into an impressively compliant and enthusiastic sing-a-long for the 'la-di-da's' of "16 Military Wives."
The Decemberists followed up their regular set with quite an energetic and theatrical first encore. "The Chimbley Sweep" devolved into a play-off - Colin Meloy vs. Chris Funk. Then as the song continued, both men handed off their guitars to a random audience member, and Meloy proceeded to take a walk around the room, climbing over chairs and steadying himself by reaching out and grasping shoulders and heads as he made his way through the crowd. For the accordion-laden shanty "The Mariner's Revenge Song," the audience assumed an important role. At Funk's hand signal (no more prop whale), the whole room broke out in screams and laments as if being swallowed by a whale. Back onstage, the band fell to the ground and began to writhe around the floor. From their new position, they played with increased fervor until the song eventually spun out of control and ended.
Succumbing to the ravenous applause, The Decemberists concluded the evening with a brief second encore, this time favoring a song from their new album, "June Hymn."
After comparing the setlists from the last two nights, it definitely looks like the band is attempting to mix things up. I only wonder what they'll play to cap off their three-night run in the city tonight (1/26).
More pictures from last night (though none of Wye Oak unfortunately), the setlist and all of their upcoming tour dates below...
photos by Dominick Mastrangelo
"It was pure geek chic last night at the Beacon Theatre, where The Decemberists played the first of a three-night engagement.To quote Dominick, "Wye Oak flat-out killed" last night at NYC's Beacon Theater, so get there early if you're going tonight (night two) or Wednesday (night three). Wye Oak go on at 8pm, but note: both remaining shows are sold out. More pictures and the Decemberists setlist from night one, below...
This indie folk-rock quintet from Portland, Ore., look like extras from "Revenge of the Nerds," but don't be fooled -- like their name, The Decemberists' music is wrapped and cool.
Live, the band's acoustic side blossoms, so they often sound like close kin to American music icons such as Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band and R.E.M.
Yet their brand of Americana has a youthful contemporary angst that is essential to their hipster appeal. During this two-hour show, the set spanned the band's 10-year career, but wisely leaned heaviest on the just-released CD, "The King is Dead." Songs from that record made the best case for why the group should be superstars." [NY Post]
The Decemberists are gearing up for a busy few months that include three January shows at Beacon Theater with Wye Oak, a big tour, and the release of their new album The King Is Dead (out 1/18 via Capitol Records, deluxe box edition included). To get us excited, the band have started releasing a series of album trailers. Today we are premiering the third trailer which you can watch with the first and second one too, below...
Say Hi headlines Bowery Ballroom on March 7th. Tickets go on sale at noon.
Noah & the Whale headlines Bowery Ballroom on March 22nd. Tickets go on sale at noon.
The Decemberists play the Beacon on January 24th, 25th and 26th. BRYAN ADAMS plays there on the 27th and 28th. Have you ever really loved a woman? Tickets are on sale.
Speaking of sexy, Michael McDonald, Boz Scaggs and Donald Fagen are touring as "The Dukes of September Rhythm Revue." They play the Beacon on 12/6 and 12/7... one night after Hall & Oates who play one night after Hot Tuna finishes a two-night run.
Radio City shows currently on sale or presale include Robyn, Interpol, Bright Eyes, Cold War Kids... and John Mellencamp.