I took my wife to the Decemberists show at the Paramount on Friday, February 18 as a belated Valentines day celebration. My wife and I had our first date (an awfully long time ago) on Valentines day, and were re-married in the Catholic Church a few years back on Valentines day as well, so it's an important anniversary for us.
On the other hand, my wife works in the floral industry so she usually has to work the day before and during Valentines day. The end result is that we usually end up celebrating Valentines day a little later, so the Decemberist's show fit the bill.
My daughters took me to see the Decemberists a few years back at the Woodland Park Zoo and I enjoyed them quite a bit. They have a unique sound between Collin Melloy's slightly nasal yearning vocals and the doubled backup vocals - the girl in the band who plays keyboards also sings backup, and the drummer (I think, I may be misremembering) also sings falsetto backup vocals, doubling the notes with the girl, giving it an interesting stronger and deeper sound. The instrumentation is also fairly unique, and the topics and lyrics are quite different - they remind me a bit of early Al Stewart, historical references and all, definitely not mainstream subjects. I saw them again at Bumbershoot and enjoyed that too.
The show was at the Paramount which is a nice venue since Ida Cole (an ex-Microsoft VP) bought it and rennovated it.
Dana and I got there shortly after the first act went on. I love the old building with it's tall lobby, vast open spaces and interesting light fixtures.
The intro act was ">Sarah Watkins, she was doing three part a capella harmonies for the most part. Nice presentation:
I got some videos of them, here's an example, it's a bit shaky:
After a short break the Decemberists came on and the crowd was buzzing with the main floor filling up. The Decemberists were tight and well rehearsed, and they had a new weapon in their arsenal: an attractive woman with a powerful voice. She's on the right in a dark dress behind the 12 string guitarist who is tuning. As far as I can tell the rest of the band is the same Decemberists I've seen since the beginning.
The music is polished and fairly intricate. I split this next song into 2 pieces since flickr stops at 90 seconds, play one then the other.
The Decemberists have gained more polish, more authority, and a rocked out number with the new chick belting out a powerful lead vocal and a tight bass heavy powerful rock guitar number, they did not have that in their repertoirce the last time I saw them. Good to see the Decemberists growing and changing and still doing some of the best shoe gazy historic fiction oddities in the business. Thanks to my sweetie for hanging out with the ladies from the intro act while I recorded the Decemberists. Like the drummer from Atomic Tom (came up to talk when my sweetie was picking me up after the show, nobody visited until Dana was there) and Lucas of Smoke Wreck Kings who worked with Dana before he met me she gets their attention and talks to musicians more than I do.