Colin Meloy at Variety Playhouse
I wandered over to Atlanta on this fine Thursday, armed with a copy of the new Colin Meloy album (signed!) and on a mission to see the aforementioned Mr. Meloy at the Variety Playhouse. Regular readers won't be surprised to know I was very much looking forward to this show. Although I've seen The Decemberists in a number of settings inside, outside, with the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra, etc., frontman Meloy had not yet played solo in Dixie.
The opening set by Meloy's fellow Portlander Laura Gibson was low-key and enjoyable, and it was a treat to hear longtime favorite "Hands in Pockets" in person. She informed the crowd that the song was being used in a commercial for the Humane Society in Oregon, and that said ad could be found on YouTube. Indeed it can:
Well, that's just adorable.
Laura Gibson - Hands in Pockets
I picked up her tour EP, but haven't had a chance to listen yet. It's titled Six White Horses: Blues and Traditionals Vol. I, so I suspect it'll be right up my alley.
Colin Meloy's set was about what you would expect. It was a mix of material from throughout his band's catalog, along with a new (unfinished, but awesome) song and a spirited cover of Sam Cooke's "Cupid" with Gibson sharing vocal duties. This song was a reference to Meloy's EP for this tour, Colin Meloy Sings Sam Cooke, available only at shows. You know I bought that. A taste of the EP, with "Cupid" again featuring Laura Gibson on background vocals:
Colin Meloy - Cupid [Sam Cooke cover]
While a great deal of fun, the show was far from polished. Meloy flubbed the lyrics of seemingly every song at some point, and was fortunate to have some uber-fans on the front few rows to get him back on track. He also debuted his new crystal, dubbed Cornwallis by the audience, purchased from some shop in Little Five Points and was presented a T-shirt with the logo of Meloy's pseudo-organization MACOF (Musicians Against the Calling Out of "Freebird"). It was clearly a relaxed show with lots of humor and goofing off, and I enjoyed it. Probably not the setting for somebody's first exposure to The Decemberists, but it seemed like most of the crowd was already on board the D Train.
I'm tired, so that's enough for now. I certainly suggest checking out Meloy and Gibson's upcoming shows, especially if you're already into Meloy's primary gig. They play tonight in lovely Asheville, North Carolina.