Monday, June 01, 2009

A Short Fazed Hovel

The Decemberists brought their tour, dubbed A Short Fazed Hovel, to town tonight. Since this isn't a music blog (although it may double as one from time to time) and I need to wrap this entry quickly so I can get to bed, I'll jot down some thoughts and leave it at that.

-The band played two sets, each 50-55 minutes long, plus an encore. That's a lot of bang for the buck.

-The first set was their new album The Hazards of Love in its entirety without any breaks. It's a concept album that can feel a little samey on record, but in concert it came alive like the piece of theater it is meant to be. The five-piece band, plus two additional singers also helping out on instruments, tore through the seventeen songs like a troupe of traveling entertainers from the olden days. (There was something wonderful seeing four of the seven people on stage banging on drums during "The Rake's Song".) I've come short of loving the album, but tonight's performance may change my opinion. If the concert had only been a live rendition of the album, I would have been satisfied.

-This is the first time I've ever seen a band play a whole album straight through. The elimination of downtime and stage patter between songs kept the performance tight and focus on the stage. The set was pretty much a note-for-note duplication of what is on record, but I didn't mind since I was enjoying it so much in the live setting.

-The second set was essentially a greatest hits collection culminating with an unexpected and absolutely smoking cover of Heart's "Crazy on You" featuring their guest singers. (The video is shaky, but here they are playing it in Kansas City last week.) The instrumentation is impeccable and the singing seemed to match the original, which is why they pulled this off. (Added June 3: the Columbus performance has been uploaded.)

-Two more songs for the encore, although by this point anything more really was unnecessary. This performance ranks among the best concerts I've seen (or at least when I wrote that nearly two years ago). I like The Decemberists fairly well, but the greatness of the concert was wholly unexpected, which made it all the more pleasurable.

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At 12:10 PM, Blogger Jenn said...

Glad I wasn't alone in my love for their performance. It was, seriously, the best concert I've ever attended. And I too was impressed by the six drummers on "The Rake's Song"--so amazing.

I'm still gushing about this concert. That Heart cover was icing on the cake. Did they stage a "war" at your concert (between the British/Laurence of Arabia and the Sultan) in the middle of the last song? (Ours was "A Cautionary Tale")

At 8:57 PM, Blogger the secret knitter said...

They closed with "Sons and Daughters" in Columbus, so no, no battle recreations.


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