You've Been Asleep for a Hundred Seconds

Thursday, January 13, 2005

Colin Sings

I just got back from an excellent Colin Meloy solo show. I have loved the Decemberists dearly since I first discovered them a year and half ago and their live shows are always excellent but seeing the band's frontman/songwriter Colin Meloy (AKA the future Mr. Headstart For Happiness) on his own was a special treat. Meloy is a first rate songwriter with a strange tenor voice and and a first rate guitarist. His songs are unique to say the least. Dickensian is probably the best word to describe his songs but they aren't all about Chimney sweeps and prostitutes., like his best song "Angel, Wont You Call Me?", which is the most straight forward of love songs. He is very reminiscent of Robyn Hitchcock in that he can be ever so strange but always manages to connect emotionally with me in the end. However, Colin dresses better and blinks less than Robyn.

Meloy's set was nice mix of old and new Decemberists' tracks, unreleased songs, and well chosen covers. Early on he played "Apology Song", which is literal and apology in song for losing a friends bicycle. Another highlight was a new song called "On the Bus mall" which was about contemporary prostitutes instead of Victorian ones. He also played two Morrissey covers "Sister I'm a Poet" and "I've Changed My Plea To Guilty" which were just awesome and he was even selling an tour only EP called "Colin Meloy Sings Morrissey", which has to the coolest tour only item I've ever bought. Meloy closed the main set with "California One/Youth and Beauty Brigade" which was the song that got me hooked on the Decemberists and still to my knowledge the only song to mention the Multnomah County Library. In the encore, Meloy ended the show with an awesome cover of Cheap Trick's "Southern Girls" that was superior to the original. He managed to strip the song down its pop essence and eschew the sometimes unnecessary Rick Nielsen bombast. What a great way to end a great show.

The show was at The Triple Door which is easily the poshest venue I have been to in Seattle. It's a cabaret style theater with tiers of booths and tables. It was like being at the Copacabana minus Ray Liotta and a 7 minute Scorcese tracking shot. I did like that we were able to eat and sit while watching the show. It wasn't a very rock n' roll venue but this wasn't a very rock 'n roll show. It works for solo acoustic but it would be a crime to see a real rock band there. But the service was weird. First our server kept trying to get us to sign up for their email list by talking it up and leaving forms for us to fill out. Then it seemed like every ten minutes a server would open the bottle of water on our table and fill our glasses even if they were almost full. It got really annoying and even if you waved them off they wouldn't stop. It was like they were water pouring robots. The PourBot waitstaff didn't impede my enjoyment of the show.


At 1/14/2005 9:17 PM, Blogger Headstart For Happiness said...

I've always hated California One/Youth and Beauty Brigade. I was always really glad that it was at the end of the album so that I could just stop the CD there. But I will admit that I came to appreciate that song a little more at the show. His voice really makes it easy to hear and appreciate the lyrics.

And by the way, I have to add about Angel Won't You Call Me. Yes, it is a conventional love song, but it is more than that: It's the ultimate wimpy guy's love song. The lyrics are all saying, "Hey Angel, you should call me. Sure, when that other guy comes around, I run, but you should know to call me. I'm a lost cause, but I do wear corduroys." Anyway, that song both enchants me and annoys me, because it's really making excuses for those annoyingly unassertive men out there. But it does have such a nice melody. Sigh...


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