Friday, July 20, 2007

A Bit of Grass-Stain Does Not a Ruined Pair of Jeans Make

Lil late with this review but the Green Hornet and I attended the Decemberists show this past Monday at Central Park Summerstage and it was pretty damn good. I had some déjà vu after seeing the Decemberists open for Death Cab at the Summerstage 2 years ago, and it was great to see them headlining this time around. This concert was also particularly special for me as it was the first show in a year I’ve seen due to my blown out ears and tinnitus I’ve been dealin’ with but the Decemberists lived up to my expectations. (PSA – protect your ears people, one day they wont stop ringing and you’ll go deaf - no joke) I missed Grizzly Bear who opened but from what I’ve heard on their Myspace page and what I heard as I was walking to the show through the park I didn’t miss much.

After I got there I grabbed a poster, done by Mike King and awesome as usual, and waded through the indie kids to find a spot towards the back. Central Park is nice because it’s wide but shallow so you’re not too far away from the stage and usually have some room to breathe even with a full crowd. The Summerstages’ boring lighting and notoriously poorly mixed audio didn’t distract too much although every time Nate would switch to his electric bass things got a bit muddy. That aside, the set list was awesome and highlighted a lot of songs they haven’t been doing this current tour since most shows have been with an orchestra. As Colin said, they were playing a collection of summer songs to fit the atmosphere and pulled out some of my personal favorites like July, July!, Oceanside, Billy Liar, and Red Right Ankle. They also played a chunk of tracks from the Crane Wife which supplied some of the lower points of the set for me, I could have done without the Island and would have rather heard the Tain or California One, but it was nice to hear these newer songs at the same time. There was some nice crowd interaction during Chimbley Sweep with Colin instructing the band and entire audience to sit down on cue as usual and Mariners’ Revenge Song is becoming a classic set closer for them.

The band was tight for the most part and this was the first time I had seen them as a 5 piece. Jenny and Chris Funk held down the various side instruments although the lack of a strong female backing vocalist was noticeable (Jenny sounded better when Petra was touring with them in my opinion). John lightened the mood by acting goofy although he must have been suffering from some mild ADD during Mariner’s Revenge with Jenny having to politely remind him that it was time for him to sing one of the verses. The amount of talking was kept to a minimum in light of the strict Summerstage curfew which was fine by me and resulted in a 4 song encore and nice full set. It’s good to see the Decemberists getting the recognition they deserve and all in all it was a quality show for Central Park.

Here’s a youtube video of the Chimbley Sweep antics for yah and the Infanta from one of their orchestral shows (unfortunately no orchestra in NYC). From what I understand Colin’s gonna be around for another solo tour this winter – lookin’ forward to that one. Until next time…

The Infanta (with orchestra)


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