Wednesday, May 04, 2005

The Decemberists, Rebecca Gates / Irving Plaza / May 4, 2005

caryn: So, what did you think?

amy: petra haden is adorable

caryn: A very nice addition to the band, I think. Their harmonizing was particularily sweet.

amy: she sang lead on a kickass cover of kate bush's "wuthering heights"

amy: i noticed that several songs seemed a bit slower than on the album

amy: but it didn't bother me much

amy: maybe it had to do with the new drummer

caryn: Can I say something right off the bat? Prepare for a rant. I think that Kelefa of the Times is a popist. I'm so sick of this Bush-era condemnation of things that are smart and the celebration of smart people who dumb themselves down. I mean, I love pop just as much as the next Crunk Juice-drinking red-blooded American. But to condemn musicians for being too literary? Bah! Harvard guilt goes far, eh?

amy: wow

amy: it's like everybody's so desperate to not seem to be a rockist, sort of

caryn: Seriously, I'm sick of the damp morass of the cultural climate right now. There's this stupid ass guy the Bush cabal just installed to head PBS. In an interview he said he didn't even watch PBS that much and he'd rather read People magazine. Give me a fucking break. We need to take to the streets and reclaim our culture and I nominate The Decemberists to lead the charge. Now, back to our regularily scheduled episode of Colin Watch 2005.

amy: he ate dinner at republic before the show

amy: we know this because we ate there too!

caryn: Yes, that was very exciting. Let me fill our readers in more fully. Amy and I decided to sup at the reasonably priced and plentifully plated Republic restaurant in Union Square. I'm digging into my noodles, look up, and there is young Colin Meloy enjoying a nice repast with a cast of thousands. Amy stole his fork after he left.

amy: not true! caryn didn't even tell me when he walked by to leave so that i could ogle him!

caryn: C'mon, someone's got to protect your pride. Now, we need to confess to the People, that we were living VIP at the show. Tell the people.

amy: yeah, we were straight VIP-ing at this show

amy: at one point colin came and stood right behind us

caryn: We had real, live Decemberists up in our grill before the show started. We were also extremely nerdy and got there almost before the band, even. This insured good seats. And I didn't even get kicked out by David Bowie.

amy: caryn shot the shit about portland bars with him and some other guy while i pretended like i didn't notice

caryn: Colin seemed nervous when I started dropping Portland science. Like maybe I had followed him all the way across the country. I think I might look like that girl.

amy: scary stalker girl?

caryn: Speaking of, a rundown of tonight's Strange Ladies Who Love Colin report. There was a girl who thrust her tap shoe at CM. And another who threw a dirty sock at him.

amy: apparently the words "it's sara's birthday" were written on the sock

amy: colin was kinda mean about it. he made some snarky comment.

amy: but you know what? after watching this show, i don't think colin is my favorite decemberist anymore

amy: i think it's a tie between chris funk and jenny conlee

caryn: I'd get snarky if someone threw a dirty sock at me. The place to was way sold out. Unlike many sold out shows, the crowd stayed completely in place the entire time. Completely rapt. Jenny Conlee reminds me of Carol Kane for some reason.

amy: yeah, i can see that. i think it's the teeth.

amy: she was making some hilarious faces and seemed very happy up there

amy: chris funk... man, that guy rules. he put on a pink bandana during "mariner's revenge song."

amy: and he used to manage the coup and lifesavas!

caryn: Yeah, she would roll her eyes into the back of her head. The new drummer is this guy John Moen who's been in about a million different appealing Portland bands. The Dharma Bums, The Maroons. I think he was in Satan's Pilgrims. He plays with Malkmus, I believe.

amy: he seemed to fit right in. he got quite goofy during "the mariner's revenge song", which was the last song of the evening. he was crawling around on the floor and stuff

caryn: Would you say that the crowd was a youth and beauty brigade?

amy: not really

amy: i was very happy to see lots of nerdy boys unaccompanied by females

caryn: That song about the California wine. Man, that so could have been the Sideways theme song.

amy: totally

amy: i thought this show did a good job of balancing the silly and the sublime

caryn: I loved, loved, loved when Petra started fiddling the hora and then Colin turned it into this faux guitar solo thing and struck all the electric guitar solo poses, but was only plucking on his acoustic. Brilliant.

amy: yes! "hava nagila" in da house!

amy: it was just another example of colin totally fucking with rock star stereotypes

caryn: Indeed. What were these kids wearing? They looked like chef's jackets merged with safari wear and morphed with deck hand gear. I think whatever it was, it was extremely uncomfortable because little by little they all took off their costumes.

amy: it's the same outfits they wear in the press photos for the new album. you can see them, oh i don't know, HERE

amy: so did you honestly like rebecca gates' opening set?

caryn: Honestly? No. It's weird. Here I am, a person who actually owns every Spinanes 7 inch available. I own all Spinanes releases. Yet, she played almost nothing I knew nor was what she did play compelling. If she didn't have me, I doubt she had anyone. It wasn't the right mood for the size of the venue and crowd. That said, I am a Rebecca fan and I do think she is an awesome songwriter. I don't think she did a terrible job, I just think she could do better. Maybe as the tour progresses John Moen will back her up on drums; he actually used to play drums for her after Scott Plouf left the Spinanes. I'm sure that's how she got the gig, too.

amy: yeah, it was definitely the wrong setting for her. big, loud club full of people who don't want to see you, and you are just a woman with a guitar: not good

amy: oh yeah, i think my favorite part of the show was when everybody started playing tambourines

amy: i think that was during "the sporting life"? maybe?

amy: then at the end, colin threw his tambourine in the audience

caryn: There were multiple tambourines dispersed. What a lovely parting gift!

amy: the decemberists are so my favorite band right now.