I saw the Decemberists thursday night at City Hall in Nashville. I love the Decemberists. Theirs is a style of music that not everyone gets. That’s part of the reason why I like them so much. It feels like indie rock made by English majors for English majors. Each of their albums is like reading a old Dickens novel.
I met up with a group of buddies at 6:00 pm at Judge Beans for dinner. If you’ve never been to JB’s you’re missing out. It’s the best Texas style brisket this side of Texas itself. The concert doors opened at 7:00. Our plan was to get to the show by 9:00; assuming the Decemberists wouldn’t hit the stage until about 10:00. We hung out and spent most of the night recalling old high school and college stories. By 8:00 we were at 12th and Porter smoking cigars, still laughing about the old days. By this point I’m sure all of us would have just as soon stayed where we were and hung out. The show was losing it’s priority. We did make it though by about 9:15. The opening act was still on stage, so we made our way to the bar area. Surprisingly this was the only area of the room where there was any standing room. It was a young crowd.
Eventually the silence from the stage was broken (after the opener stopped), by the old Soviet National Athem. The entire room snapped to attention. “Is that the Soviet anthem?” someone said.
My buddy Tyler called my cell.
“Hey, you wanna know the set list?” he asked. Tyler is a talented photographer and was bellied up to the stage. Check out Tyler’s picks from the show by clicking the link above.
“Heck yes!,” I said. Tyler yelled through the cell phone. All I could make out was the opener: California One. Great song.
A couple of songs in one of my buddies spotted a familar face at the bar. It was a guy we lived with in the dorms – Shawn. We all went berserk. We hadn’t seen each other since 1995. Shawn apparently works for a beverage distributor. Bad/Good news. I’m pretty sure I didn’t hear another Decemberists song – other than as background noise the rest of the night. We spent the entire night reliving the past through more stories. After the show we went to a few more night spots before finally giving it up. I was home by 1:30am. That’s not that late, right? It’s all relative I suppose. I used to stay out until 3:30am when venues would turn all the lights on and force people to leave. These days 1:30am felt like 4:30am.
A night that was originally about seeing one of the few bands of this generation that matters, turned into a night more about old friends. The whole group were old MTSU guys from the early 90’s. I went to high school with a few of them too. The lessons: friends are important. Duh! Staying out late is for kids. Becoming more evident every day. The Decemberists are great – I think.
The Set List: California One, Crane Wife 3, The Island, Los Angeles I’m Yours, Legionnaires Lament, Crane Wife 1 & 2, As I Rise, O’Valencia, The Perfect Crime #2, Eli The Barrow Boy, The Mariners Revenge Song.