The Decemberists are THE Portland band. If our city were to be defined by one band and one sound, theirs would be the definition. Colin Meloy and Co. have been soundtracking the Northwest for 15 years, and now, after a four year hiatus, The Decemberists are back in the game. Yesterday saw the release of their long-awaited follow up to The King Is Dead, their seventh studio album, What a Terrible World, What a Beautiful World. To celebrate it’s release, the city honored the band with what will henceforth be known as Decemberists Day. The band was given a key to the city, and played a free set at Portland’s City Hall.
However, before Decemberists Day came into play, the band got warmed up for their return with two events: a five-song set at the Bing Lounge, and a pre-release album signing at Music Millennium. It was Decemberists weekend, really.
The Bing Lounge set was first on the agenda. The set time was noon, and entry was first come, first serve ONLY. So, naturally, fans began lining up near seven in the morning. By the time noon rolled around, the line was around the block. However, fans were treated to an uninvited surprise. “The show will go on, but it will be moved to 3:00.” Why? Colin Meloy came down with food poisoning. Luckily, Meloy was able to pull through and give the full set on a delay. The show must go on, after all. Props to you, Colin!
As 3:00 rolled around, the packed to the rafters crowd came flooding into the Lounge. It was the biggest crowd I’ve seen for a Bing Lounge session. Not to say I didn’t expect just that.
After a healthy and exciteful introduction, the band came out, starting the set off with “Make You Better”. All the songs The Decemberists played for this set were off the new record (out now). If you haven’t yet heard What a Terrible World, What a Beautiful World, you have to listen to it! Go to your local record store, pick up a copy, and just let it play. It’s a beautiful, fun, energizing, and at the same time haunting piece of art.
Off the new record, the band also played tracks “Wrong Year”, “Lake Song”, “Carolina Low”, and “Beginning Song”, the last song on the album, and one of my favorites.
The Bing Lounge set was abuzz, and it has gone down in my books as the best session I’ve watched there, or anywhere else.
After this session, many Decemberists fans, myself included, rushed our way over to Music Millennium and hopped in line for the signing. They were selling their record one day early in celebration. I could’ve waited the extra day, but what’s the fun in that?!
If you missed it, you’d be wise to snag a ticket or two to their upcoming Edgefield show on July 10th. Tickets are on presale today, then will go on full sale tomorrow at 10 a.m. Hop on it, because they’re sure to go fast!