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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 »


  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...
Please see our submission guidelines.

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