Colin Meloy capped the 100 gig celebration of the Crystal Ballroom’s 100th anniversary last night. As I watched the show it struck me that Colin Meloy is like the musical personification of Portland: literary, intelligent, funny and unconventional. Where else could a singer with his style and vocabulary excel?
Like another favorite of mine, John Wesley Harding (or Wesley Stace, for reals), Colin Meloy sounded great with just him and his guitar. The full Decemberists sound great too, but folk music is often at its best when it’s just a singer and a guitar.
Colin seemed relaxed and comfortable as he rolled through a mix of old and new Decemberists classics. Highlights of the evening for me included The Crane Wife 1 & 2, Rox in the Box, Don’t Carry it All and The Sporting Life. The latter Colin dedicated to the Portland Trail Blazers because apparently on SportsCenter they called Damian Lillard “the Colin Meloy of the Trail Blazers.” The real Colin Meloy seemed pleased with this label.
Colin also broke what I thought was a cardinal rule of music. I’ve said many times that no song has ever been helped by slowing it down. I now stand corrected. His slow, carefully enunciated version of The Rake’s Song was fantastic and I think the best singular rendition of the night.
Colin also revealed that The Decemberists are back in the studio and played two new tracks, including a saucy one called Philomena (penned before the movie of the same name was released).
All in all the show was a very fitting, enjoyable way to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the venerable Crystal Ballroom.