Live Review: The Decemberists – BRIC Celebrate Brooklyn! Festival

One highlight of this summer’s BRIC Celebrate Brooklyn! annual concert series in Prospect Park, was The Decemberists on August 14th. Initially scheduled earlier in the summer, the band had to reschedule due to lead singer Colin Meloy’s vocal health issues. This let the anticipation build further for a powerful and enlivening religious rock and roll experience.

The opening song was one of their latest upbeat grooves, Severed. Although hearing it on the radio can become a bit repetitive and boring, the live version of this track is truly a must see indie rock and roll performance. Next, they played Suckers Prayer, another fresh track from new album I’ll Be Your Girl, that rings out as one of the memorable hits. A Beatles fan won’t miss the similar chorus melody that brings to mind Don’t Let Me Down.

The band then shifted to their seventh album What A Terrible World, What A Beautiful World, to play one of the fan favorites – Make You Better. This song has always been one of the signature Decemberists songs but hearing it live made it even more exciting. The Rakes Song followed, a deep track from album number five Hazards Of Love.

To continue the upbeat, rocking energy, the band played Down By The Water from album number six, The King Is Dead. This classic radio hit brought everyone in the audience to their feet. For the remainder of the set the band put together a very special treat for true fans and played the entire Crane Wife album from start to finish. Highlights included O Valencia! which always gives a rocking jolt to their already raw energy. The ending two songs of this full album set were also magical. The acoustic, mellow vibes on The Crane Wife 1 & 2 set the mood for the heartfelt, low energy Sons & Daughters anthem.

The Decemberists followed this wonderful section of the set ,by playing opening track Once In My Life from their new album I’ll Be Your Girl. This song provides the entertaining rock and roll-building momentum that is key for pumping up the attitude of an indie rock record. The next track was Ben Franklin’s Song, which was inspired by an unused set of Lin Manuel Miranda’s lyrics from his hit Broadway production ‘Hamilton’. The final song of the night was The Mariner’s Revenge Song, which was released on their third album Picaresque. This served as the perfect song to leave the fans wanting more, because of its dancey vibe and exciting instrumentation.

Despite Colin’s continued vocal health issues, this rescheduled show was a perfect way to close out the Celebrate Brooklyn! concert series.

Scott J. Herman


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