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Yesterday I was really doubting going to The Decemberists. I wasn't sure I knew them well enough to travel all the way to Glasgow and back. I thought their newest album - The King is Dead - was lovely, but only knew a smattering of their earlier work - 16 Military Wives, The Mariners Revenge Song, Rake Song. I was going to go, but it would be without much enthusiasm, largely due to the train journeys.
I was wrong. I should have been really excited. The band played mainly songs from the new album, but splattered it with songs from mainly Picaresque - exactly the ones that I knew. And even if I hadn't known those songs, I would have massively enjoyed them because Colin Meloy is easily one of the most charismatic people I have seen on a stage. Though set opener "California One / Youth and Beauty Brigade" is a slow climaxing song, we knew the stage was set for a fantastic show when Meloy ended up on the floor playing his guitar. After some technical difficulties (during which Meloy and drummer John Moen discussed large love) jumping into "The Calamity Song" showed that this night was all about waiting for summer to hit us.
The first hit of the night, Rake Song, met with a cheer from what at first had seemed like a really passive crowd. But as the concert progressed, you started to notice that people were singing along and dancing. Meloy would chant a chorus, swing the mic to the audience who would respond enthusiastically. Second to last song of the night (as well as the second to last encore) was "The Mariners Revenge Song" and My God. Seeing as it was from Picaresque it seemed absolutely fitting that the band put on a show for it, ending with a massive scream from the audience as multi-instrumentalist Chris Funk swung his arms in a whale chomping motion across the stage - and the song ended with a massive swaying crowd bobbing from side to side into a great noisy crescendo.
The band ended with June Hymn after a roar (I have never felt the Barrowlands shake like that) demanding that they come back on, a beautiful song about summer arriving, and a really fitting concluder for what had been a pretty great show, as we all watched the stage, still recovering from the manic show that had been The Mariner's Revenge Song.
So if you have any doubts about going to see The Decembrists. Go see The Decembrists.