by RYAN BOLTON, originally published on blogTO
The Decemberists are an apt band to see when a snowstorm is looming. Everyone is giddy, excited for a snow day. Everyone has reason to sport a beard and their warmest flannel. And The Decemberists’ name itself brings forth images of that cold, fluffy stuff.
It all started with a unique introduction. With lights dimmed, the supposed voice of Sam Adams – current mayor of Portland, home to The Decemberists – asked for the audience to introduce itself to their neighbours. It set the tone for a solid, comfortable, at times strange and powerful set from the indie-cum-rock folk band.
Launching their most recent effort, The King is Dead, a mere two weeks back, The Decemberists have once again transitioned their sound. Straying away from their high-concept albums like The Crane Wife and The Hazards of Love, their sixth album smacks of alt-country with a dab of that omnipresent folk tinge. Something that served well in showing the sheer diversity and range in the multi-instrumentalist’s 16-song set.
Opening with “Song for Myla Goldberg,” a song steeped with literary allusions, they quickly transitioned into the new country-esque single, “Down by the Water.” And they did so with ease, segueing with some deadpan banter from a chatty Colin Meloy. Meloy’s comical and meandering musings catches you off-guard at first, but you quickly embrace his bookish, dry take on just about anything, including calling us “Torontoites,” which the crowd promptly corrected him on.
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