I've blogged ad nauseum about The Decemberists - for some reason they bother me. Their high showing in my last.fm charts proves I have a soft spot for them (although I have listened to them considerably less over the last year or so). I think the problem boils down to the fact that they are the first band that I loved that really outgrew me.
Sure Low can fill out the Shepherds Bush Empire and they did start making music that I didn't like as much, but they always seemed to be more or less the band I fell in love with and I moved away from them more than they moved away from me. But The Decemberists are different they have gone and left me behind. The new album has done nothing for me - it's OK but it lacks something (or maybe has something) that I just can't quite put my finger on. Either way it's not an album that I can love. There's always been that "pompous" thing going on with Meloy and his minstrels - but suddenly I don't feel in on the joke.
Last night was the fourth and last time I will see The Decemberists. The Shepherds Bush Empire was packed to the seams with adoring fans and Colin played to that audience like a pro, with the joking and jumping and audience participation and I watched from the back of the the top level and saw a band that had mastered their audience...only I wasn't part of it.
It was a good show, mostly new album with a couple of oldies thrown in, Robyn Hitchcock and Mike Scott (of The Waterboys) joined them on stage and they overdid a silly "drama" at the end when they should have been playing a classic set closer (they might have won me back if they'd finished with a rousing "I was Meant For The Stage" instead of the silly "Cautionary Song" hammed-up-farce).
I'll still rate the show I saw them do at the Water Rats as one of the best I've seen but they are no longer that band - or I'm no longer that person. It was fun while it lasted but I think we've gone as far as we can...