Portland, Oregon - Thank you for so many amazing bands/musicians: M Ward, The Thermals, Viva Voce, Elliott Smith...and The Decemberists. They played two sets, starting with the complete Hazards of Love, their theatrical rock opera album, assisted by the impressive Becky Stark (of Lavender Diamond) and Shara Worden (of My Brightest Diamond). Standout tracks included 'The Wanting Comes in Waves/Repaid', 'The Rake's Song' and 'Won't Want for Love (Margaret in the Taiga)' - the latter with it's intense drumming, playful piano and fevered riffs.
After a small break, they returned to play some of their older material, such as the punchy 'Billy Liar', the bouncy '16 Military Wives' and the anthemic 'O Valencia'. The five-piece concluded with 'The Mariner's Revenge Song', complete with inflatable killer whale- to which the crowd had to scream as if they were being eaten alive by a real one.
I think the night can be summed up by the fact that by the end even the serious looking security were smiling and engaged with the witty and masterful songs of Colin Meloy.