Homer's Travels: Music: The Decemberists With Justin Townes Earle

Monday, April 18, 2011

Music: The Decemberists With Justin Townes Earle

Sunday I did something that should be on every music lover's bucket list.  I, along with the packed Holland Performing Arts center audience, participated in singing the Decemberists' "The Mariner's Revenge Song".  The GodSon had mentioned this before, it seems to have become a Decemberists concert staple, and it was as fun as he describe it.  It is one of the highlights of my limited concert experiences.  Right up there with having Billy Joe Armstrong spitting beer on me.

But I get way ahead of myself.  Back to the beginning.  On Sunday I went to a concert, this time sans the Wife.  She had not heard the Decemberists and wasn't keen on spending a Sunday night, a school night at that, seeing if she liked a band or not.  I can fully understand this and, frankly, the Decemberists can be an acquired taste. I bought one of their CDs ("Picaresque") at the suggestion of the GodSon.  I listened to it and thought I'd wasted another $15 bucks.  A few weeks later I gave it another shot and found it more interesting this time.  A third listen and I was sold.  I bought a second CD ("The Crane Wife") which I found just as good and, this time, appreciated after the first listen.  (I have learned that it takes three listens for me to really appreciate music.)

It felt weird sitting in my seat waiting for the show to start without the Wife beside me.  This wasn't the first time, I've been to several free concerts alone, but it was the first time I paid to see someone without the Wife.  It felt strange.  Fortunately the show started and the good tunes washed over me I my misgivings faded.  I still wished she'd been there with me.

The warm up act was Justin Townes Earle, someone I'd never heard.  He had a rocking country sound that kept my interest and was appreciated by the crowd.  While I liked him as a warm up for the Decemberists, I'm not sure I would buy any of his stuff.  I'm just not into country music.

The Decemberists came on and were pretty amazing.  I was only familiar with a quarter or a third of the songs but I appreciated what I heard.  Lead singer, Colin Meloy, has a very distinctive and recognizable singing voice. The Decemberists are known for the large instrumental repertoire, violin, mandolin, bass violin, keyboard, drums, guitar, bass, and, my favorite, the accordion, which give way to a rich and complex sound that compliment nicely the rich and complex lyrics.

The Decemberists played for two hours, including two encores.  The first encore was the Mariner's Revenge Song, a crowd favorite.  It's an odd, fun little song.  As you can see from the beginning of the post, I found the experience to be a positive one.

At the merch. table I bought a cool T-Shirt with what looks like a hiker on the front (probably not a hiker but it looks like one) and "Of dirt you are made and to dirt you will return" on the back with the tour dates.  The shirt reminds me of Spain ... like just about everything these days.

I had a good time.  I enjoyed the music.  I like my T-Shirt.

Next on the list, John Mellencamp with ... Elvis Costello (!!!) .


  1. So jealous!

    And glad you had such a great time :)

  2. I'm not jealous. But I am super happy you had a nice time and got a cool tshirt to boot!!

  3. Sounds like a great time. And please, please tell me The Wife will be going to see Mellencamp & Costello!

  4. JaG: Don't turn green on my account :)


    MMC: You should be ;) Thanks! The shirt is cool.

    GH: Actually, the Wife was the one who asked me to watch for a Mellencamp concert. She will be there.

  5. OMG - too funny - my son was at that concert also. He told me to check out the opening act, as he knows I like country.

  6. Not sure about better seats, but he did play a couple of tracks from the CD he has. There's one song my grandson loves, it's so cute to see sing with my son when the song is playing. I thought they were cool, as they had a pirate feel to their songs!

  7. Dobegil: I agree, some of the tunes do have a pirate sound to them