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Saturday, October 20

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Concert Sun Nov 12 2006

By Land, By Sea, By Dirigible


As the Decemberists' following has grown, so has the spectacle of their live shows. While organized audience participation can be fun, and it was certainly appropriate at last year's Intonation performance, it needs to serve the music, not the band's ego. Last night, in a non-festival venue, it felt too often like we were witnessing the latter, not the former.

That said, when the focus was on the music, Colin Meloy and his compatriots worked magic. Smartly ordering the title songs from their marvelous latest album, The Crane Wife, into a chronological suite, the Decemberists elicited shivers of heartbreak. There weren't many moments as perfect, although the first encore, "Red Right Ankle," was similarly sweet. Otherwise, the set list was generally upbeat, emphasizing the more raucous aspects of the band's repertoire: "July, July!," "16 Military Wives," "Oh, Valencia," etc. At one point, Meloy launched into a crowd-inspired cover of the Clash's "Waiting for the Clampdown," a moment he said he was sure to regret.

But it all culminated in "A Cautionary Tale," which featured several band members snaking through the crowd, playing elementary school percussion (tambourine and the like). Fine until they stopped to re-enact a battle a la Tolkien, recruiting bystanders to act as fellow elves and so on. Where that came from, I haven't a clue, but its grand-scale arbitrariness left a sour taste. Metblogs loved it, but the Decemberists weren't always about the Apocalypse. Without them, who'll sing of rent-boys on the bus mall or dreams of being an architect?

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Feature Thu Dec 31 2015

Our Final Transmission Days

By The Gapers Block Transmission Staff

Transmission staffers share their most cherished memories and moments while writing for Gapers Block.

Read this feature »


  Chicago Music Media

Alarm Magazine
Big Rock Candy Mountain
Boxx Magazine
Brooklyn Vegan Chicago
Can You See The Sunset From The Southside
Chicago Reader Music
Chicagoist Arts & Events
Chicago Music Guide
Chicago Singles Club
Country Music Chicago
Cream Team
Dark Jive
The Deli Chicago
Jim DeRogatis
Fake Shore Drive
Gowhere Hip Hop
The Hood Internet
Jaded in Chicago
Largehearted Boy
Little White Earbuds
Live Fix Blog
Live Music Blog
Loud Loop Press
Oh My Rockness
Pop 'stache
Pop Matters
Resident Advisor
Sound Opinions
Sun-Times Music Blog
Theft Liable to Prosecution
Tribune Music
UR Chicago
Victim Of Time
WFMU's Beware of the Blog
Windy City Rock


Abbey Pub
Andy's Jazz Club
Aragon Ballroom
Auditorium Theatre
Beat Kitchen
Bottom Lounge
Buddy Guy's Legends
The Burlington
California Clipper
Concord Music Hall
Congress Theater
Cubby Bear
Double Door
Elbo Room
Empty Bottle
Green Mill
The Hideout
Honky Tonk BBQ
House of Blues
Kingston Mines
Lincoln Hall
Logan Square Auditorium
Mayne Stage
The Mutiny
Old Town School of Folk Music
Park West
The Promontory
Red Line Tap
Reggie's Rock Club & Music Joint
The Riviera
Thalia Hall
The Shrine
Symphony Center
Tonic Room
Uncommon Ground
The Vic
The Whistler

  Labels, Promoters
  & Shops:

Alligator Records
Beverly Records
Bloodshot Records
Dave's Records
Delmark Records
Drag City
Dusty Groove
Flameshovel Records
Groove Distribution
He Who Corrupts
Jam Productions
Jazz Record Mart
Kranky Records
Laurie's Planet of Sound
Minty Fresh
Numero Group
mP Shows
Permanent Records
Reckless Records
Smog Veil Records
Southport & Northport Records
Thick Records
Thrill Jockey Records Touch & Go/Quarterstick Records
Victory Records

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Transmission is the music section of Gapers Block. It aims to highlight Chicago music in its many varied forms, as well as cover touring acts performing in the city. More...
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