Concert Review: The Decemberists

Last nigt, Jenn and I went to see a band called The Decemberists. Now, I have been to probably 200+ concerts over the last 15 years, and I have to say: this was top 5. Top 10 easily. Click ‘Read More’ and I’ll tell you why.

First, let me tell you, the concert was unlike any other I’ve attended. One of the things I noticed was that the crowd was really quiet; almost like it was a stage performance more than a concert. They were respectful and subdued, but so lively and participatory when called upon to do so. In conjunction with this, the soundman deserves a raise for projecting the sound perfectly – not a tick or feedback or distortion, just clean, smooth sound. You could hear each string of the guitar as it was strummed. The soundboard was extremely well managed.

Combine that with the fact that the Decemberists played a faithful rendition of their records, so much so that I was surprised at home skilled they were to pull of some of the more rapid, challenging sections with such technical proficiency.

The Decemberists have a very traditional, almost folky sound and their personalities match it perfectly. There was short, witty banter throughout, much of it amusing, and their kooky half-dancery was entertaining to watch. There was the perfect amount of attempted humor, enough to keep us smiling without overdoing it.

The crowd participation was especially notable. During some songs, he singled out sections of the audience to sing, and I was just blown away by how loud everyone was when the time demanded it. It was really cool.

I was aching to hear their latest epic song “The Island.” I was in heaven for the 9 or so minutes they played it, and they closed the show with “Sons and Daughters,” a catchy sing-along that closes the latest album, which made the perfect emotional connection.

Some songs, such as The Perfect Crime, Part II, gave them an opportunity to showcase their sillier side by hosting a “dance contest” mid-floor.

Great music, a great crowd, and a great time. It was exactly what you hope to get when you go to a concert.