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Thursday, December 14

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Review Thu Nov 14 2013

The Singer Addresses His Audience: Colin Meloy @ Park West, 11/11

Colin Meloy is an individual that has an immediate presence when he walks into a room. An innate sense of calm surrounds him, a notion that the words that come out of his mouth will be engulfed with wisdom. A prophet of modern music, Meloy has weaved his way through the music industry by dabbling in many different forays; from working with fledgling group Tarkio, to founding revered indie folk outfit The Decemberists, to spurning his own solo career, there has never been a dull moment for him as he has consistently evolved and shaped his sound into a genre all his own, one that keeps fans returning time and time again.

Meloy displayed his immense talent Monday evening at Park West, where he appeared to a packed house. Eleanor Friedberger opened the show; with swift, stripped down acoustic numbers, her voice dispersed throughout the venue, diminishing any sound to a quiet whisper as the notes set the tone for the evening's feel.

As Meloy stepped on stage, the crowd grew elated. Wearing a casual outfit and donning his signature specs, Meloy beamed as he took a swig from his glass of red wine, the bottle left on a table beside him. It truly felt like an overdue reunion, as many of these fans, including myself, have been listening to Meloy's music for more than a decade now. Growing with an artist is an experience one can never forget, as we watch them shape their craft into something heightened and evolved each time we see them.

Playing a blend of solo material, Decemberists tunes, and Kinks covers, featured off of Meloy's solo album covering the band's work, Meloy kept the variety up and left audience members on their toes as to what was coming next. His voice reverberated through Park West, as individuals stood in reverence for the artist they had respected for so long, finally in person standing in front of them, for some were hearing him live for the first time. Notable moments included unrecorded track "Hank, Eat Your Oatmeal," a jovial, playful ballad written for Meloy's young son, Hank, about, you guessed it, eating oatmeal. New song "Why Would I" was also played, much to the delight of the audience members.

In honor of winter's swift approach to the city, Meloy decided to play "January Hymn." Maybe I should just let it be / And maybe it will all come back to me. The beautiful simplicity of the song hushed the audience to complete silence, as the stunning acoustics designed the song into a whole new form, and created a truly special moment. Meloy decided to close the show with epic ballad "California One / Youth and Beauty Brigade," a deeper cut on The Decemberists' 2003 album, Castaways and Cutouts. Enshrouded in musical beauty, I was amazed at how one man and his acoustic guitar could captivate an audience to such degree. The song is one that can make you feel blissful and laden with remorse at the same time; wistful for days you once knew, and hopeful for days yet to come. The audience connected with Meloy's musical intentions, and let him rock them to their core with this spiritual ending.

Returning for an encore, Meloy decided to play "The Crane Wife 1 & 2" and "The Crane Wife 3" in immediate succession. Featured on The Decemberists' Crane Wife album, when put together these songs created a myriad of meanings. Taking around fifteen minutes to culminate, Meloy left a lasting impression on a crowd of fans: new, old, seasoned listeners and those hearing his music for the first time. By embodying the music he creates, Meloy produces something special, that simply cannot be done justice by description. Beauty in Meloy's music is found in the lyrics so intricately written, the layering of instruments that provide a beautiful connection, and the feeling this music creates. Meloy made sure that each person in Park West went home gathering meaning and creativity, and proved his staying power in the industry will be quite some time.

 
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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 »

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