Our introduction to the Decemberists was back in September on their last trip to Grand Rapids. Displaying a delightful eccentricity, deeply literate lyrics, and a panoply of instruments, they left little doubt that we’d be buying at least one album before too long. From Thursday night’s showing it’s clear that we weren’t alone in being impressed as 725 people flocked to the Intersection to catch the band out supporting their new album Picaresque.
It was more than apparent that the Portland, Oregon band were in the middle of a tour that’s been going very well. The theatricality of their stage persona was both well rehearsed and effortlessly playful, and by and large the songs came across well, particularly the more crowd-pleasing numbers from that new album (“Sixteen Military Wives”, “We Both Go Down Together”). With the strong Irish folk strain running through much of the material, it was at times easy to imagine that I was back at mid-90s Greenbelt listening to one of many Waterboys-influenced bands. But that sound has been filtered through the succession of indie sounds that the past decade has seen, achieving its own identity, and resulting in a sound and a set that was highly entertaining.