Going out to a show

Saw a show last night.

The Decemberists were playing at the Aladdin Theater, with The Places and The Long Winters opening for them. I mentioned this before… surely you remember.

I wasn’t that impressed with The Places. Amy Annelle’s voice was alright, but the tone of the music was melancholy and plaintive. Also, the girl couldn’t enunciate worth a damn and mumbled her way between songs. I picked up just that she’s local to Portland and was glad to be playing at the Aladdin. She introduced a three part song, each part having a name, well, except for the middle part which was untitled, oh, and the middle part was dedicated to the guitarist from Rush who was in jail for some drunk driving charge… or something… I dunno. I lost track in there somewhere.

The Long Winters, however, rocked and rolled. John Roderick puts on a great show. Their songs are so upbeat and catchy, and they got the normally-dour Portland crowd (Why is it that Portland music fans don’t dance?) up and out of their seats. A group of girls in the audience had apparently baked cupcakes and were imploring Roderick to eat one… He eventually did, although he was wary about the cupcakes being “laced… with hard drugs.” When Roderick found out that the cupcakes had been made with soy margarine he mused that that was “a very Portland ingredient.”

The band was minus their occasional member Sean Nelson, who provides harmonizing vocals and keyboards, but between Roderick’s lead vocals and guitar and Eric Corson’s bass and Michael Shilling’s drums… they weren’t missing much. And thankfully the LSD cupcakes didn’t kick in during the set. I just hope the band made it through the night all right…

I had only heard a couple of songs from The Decemberists from their label’s (Kill Rock Stars) website, and didn’t pay much attention. However, seeing them perform live is an entirely different experience. A five-piece band, led by Colin Molloy, they play literate, catchy tunes with a strong violent theme flowing through them. Their songs are full of catchy pop hooks but laced with references to war, weapons, soldiers, combat, blood, bullets, and sexualized violence. An intriguing combination and deadly to witness. Molloy seemed pleased at the crowd and happy to be playing, even though the band was still working out their stage presence and changes, and trying out new material. Molloy even took over Jenny Conlee’s keyboards for the new song.

The audience ate it up, and my companions and I were agreed that we would be seeking out their CD. Check them out if you get a chance…