MAN. Just when I think I'm totally over "Crazy," I hear Jude covering it for some French radio station and I'm totally taken in again. Not just the song, really, but that it's the perfect song for his crazy counter-tenor vocals. I miss that guy. Supermarj gets to see him all the freaking time and I've never seen a concert of his. Sigh. I wish King of Yesterday had gone places so he'd still be making major label (or at least major-indie label) releases. No One Is Really Beautiful remains one of my favorite albums, and not simply because I listened the hell out of it during a formative time in my life (my first semester, freshman year of college). (...though, aha! A quick trip to his website to provide a hyperlink for the uninitiated reveals he has a new album coming out via CD Baby on Nov. 16. O providence!)
Anyway, I wanted to blog about the Decemberists' show last night, which was fantastic, as usual. They are a must-see live act, honest to God. The Crane Wife's orchestral prog-rock translates really well into a live setting, though the Boy and I lamented that the new songs are so long that we were precluded from hearing others of our favorites (anything off of 5 Songs, for instance, or more than one song off of Her Majesty...). It was refreshing to hear "16 Military Wives" and "The Engine Driver" again--none of the songs on the new album quite reach the anthemic feel of each of those masterpieces from Picaresque. Still, I'm quite taken by the new backup vocalist/violinist/multi-instrumentalist Lisa--I've previously whined about how Petra's vocals overpowered Colin's when I saw them twice at Metro last year, whereas Lisa's voice blends quite nicely (though she was kind of hard to hear on the "Yankee Bayonet" duet). Chris Funk was playing a hurdy-gurdy (!) during "Sons and Daughters," the song that closed their set--but for an encore, Colin played "A Cautionary Song" while John, Lisa and Chris wandered through the throng of concertgoers and acted out "the final battle in J.R.R. Tolkien's The Hobbit," which I couldn't really see from the balcony but which was surely as entertaining as it sounded. Plus, we hit up Agami for sushi afterwards, which, yum. So, really, a pretty darn good night.
I have to admit, though, I'll probably never see a better Decemberists show than at the Southgate House in May '05, my first concert experience of theirs. They were SO on, and their immense talent and charm was SO delightful and unexpected--I expect a good show when I see them now, and I'm not disappointed, but I'll never be able to replace the novelty and whimsy of that first show. They're the best live band out there nowadays, I think--and trust me, I know a thing or two about good concerts.