Glasgow O2 Academy
To the Weedge, to see Portland’s top popsters. I was slightly apprehensive, as this was the longest I’ve driven since some spinal cord jiggery pokery earlier in the year, but The Decemberists seem reluctant to play in Embra, so it was that or nothing. Glad I made the trip through – accompanied by @ralph of this parish – because The Decemberists turned in a brilliant performance.
While their setlist had the usual Decemberists role call of tragedy, murders, drownings by river spirits, whale swallowing etc. it was an overwhelmingly jolly occasion. Colin Meloy makes for an effective ringleader and the band give every impression of enjoying themselves and being glad to the there. Always helps, I find.
Meloy’s voice is, I concede, a sticking point for many. It sounds like a fragile thing yet is revealed in concert to be rather strong too. It sounds as it does not because of vocal frailty but because it is exactly how he wants it to sound. I like it.
The setlist featured latest album I’ll Be Your Girl fairly heavily, which suited me – and indeed the audience, who contributed a spirited singalong to glam stomper We All Die Young. It struck me that despite a diverse range of styles – prog, electronica, folk, glam rock – they nevertheless sound exactly like themselves.
Good smattering of the back catalogue too, though no We Both Go Down Together, sadly. The Engine Driver featured though, complete with cheery singalong “If you don’t love me, let me know.”
Any suspense re the encore was dispelled by the appearance of a large inflatable whale on the balcony. And there was indeed a joyous rendition of the Mariner’s Revenge Song, complete with said inflatable and audience participation (screaming on being swallowed by a whale).
The Decemberists are a rollicking, entertaining, fun night out. Do go and see them if their tour is playing near you.
Diverse. Much as it pains me to say it, there’s a lot of truth in the cliche that Glasgow audiences are more engaged than those to the east. And it does make for a better night, for all concerned.
It made me think..
I can’t think of many bands where there’s such a variation between their studio “image” and their actual live persona. Also interesting that a band who haven’t really made a dent on the charts can fill a venue the size of the Academy with an enthusiastic audience who sang along to many of the songs.