This year has definitely been the craziest, weather-wise, since I moved to Seattle 5 years ago. Last night our basement flooded from the torrential downpour of rain, and the lights flickered all night because it was so windy. Still, we were lucky: our cable and electricity stayed on all night. The biggest inconvenience (aside from icky muddy towels and sore backs from mopping) is that we didn't get our paper. Not because the carrier didn't deliver it, but because the power is out at the press, so they can't print. Crazy. Today the weather is so much calmer that it makes the storm seem like it was a bad dream. If things keep up, it will actually be warmer when we're on the east coast next week than it is here.
So I haven't written yet about the Decemberists' show, and now I also have to write about the KEXP benefit show we went to last Sunday. First, the Decemberists. I was so excited to see Colin and the gang that I was practically jumping up and down when they started to come onstage. There was a HUGE, beautiful backdrop with an illustration of a Japanese village, complete with a crane flying away (with a perfect blood spot on one wing, just like the album cover). In front of the backdrop were 8 very large red lanterns hanging over the band. It was one of the prettiest stage sets I've seen at the Paramount. They started the set with The Crane Wife, Pt. 3--the first song on the new album and my current favorite song. I was giddy. Colin had a cold which seemed to get worse as he went on, and they actually wound up cancelling their Vancouver shows to make sure he didn't damage his voice. But the show was fantastic nonetheless. You could tell that Colin was annoyed about his voice not doing what he wanted, but it didn't matter. If I want to hear the songs performed perfectly, I can listen to the album. The live concert is about what happens in the moment, so I was really pleased when he finally let loose on The Landlord's Daughter and just went with it. I know a lot of people were annoyed that the show was relatively short (because Colin's voice was shot), but I was just happy they didn't cancel altogether. I had been looking forward to the concert for 2 months, and it totally lived up to my expectations. I just can't say enough good things about The Decemberists, and I will most definitely be seeing them when they come to Seattle again.
Sunday we went to the KEXP benefit show at Neumo's. The line-up was:
Cold War Kids
The Junior Boys
Ted Leo and the Pharmacists
My favorite group by far was Cold War Kids. These guys are just fabulous--they are so much fun to watch and you can tell that they're having fun too. They use lots of complex rhythms and catchy melodies, but their presentation is so haphazard; it's almost as if they just woke up, hopped onstage and threw a song together. Love it! I highly recommend that you check out their album Robbers and Cowards. The Junior Boys were good, but the mixing was so out of balance that the bass was killing our ears. We had to move off to the side of the stage just to avoid being in pain from it. Ted Leo was lots of fun too; not totally my genre, but he can win anyone over with his energy (plus he's REALLY good at what he does, so just from that perspective you have to like him). By the time his set finished we were all pretty tired; we stuck around for the first 3 songs from Juno, then made it to the frites place right before they closed. Frites are truly the best ending for any evening, especially one spent with good friends and good music.