Live Review: Colin Meloy Brings Stripped Down Decemberists Tunes to Louisville (November 9th, 2013)

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Credit: Autumn de Wilde

Photo Credit: Autumn de Wilde

Colin Meloy is currently stepping out from his alt-folk band The Decemberists for his fourth solo tour. On Saturday, November 9th, the singer-songwriter stopped by Headliners Music Hall in Louisville, KY.

Meloy’s set began with the new track “The Singer Addresses His Audience,” which showcased a lighthearted blend of witty self-awareness, before quickly transitioning into the Decemberists standard “July, July”, instantly bombarding the 600-plus attendees with a wave of excited familiarity and sing-along. Without his bandmates sharing the stage, Meloy delivered the stripped-down songs on acoustic guitar, replacing the lack of accompaniment with intimacy, referring to the concert as a campfire early on in his stage banter. Having seen the band play to a crowd of over 30 thousand on the last Decemberists tour in 2011, it was difficult not to draw comparisons, but songs like “Calamity Song” and “The Crane Wife 3” instantly garnered a feeling of reverence almost impossible to capture on the summer-festival circuit.

The selection of songs expanded throughout Meloy’s entire catalogue, ranging from The Decemberists’ most recent album The King Is Dead (the gentle “January Hymn”), to earlier cuts from Castaways and Cutouts (“California One/Youth and Beauty Brigade”) and Her Majesty the Decemberists (“Los Angeles, I’m Yours”). He even briefly went further back into his songwriting career, playing the song “Tristan & Iseolte” from his pre-Decemberists band Tarkio, claiming it was “ancient” before strumming the solemn, low-tempo song for the audience.

To keep up with the tradition of his solo tour, Colin Meloy recorded a covers EP featuring five songs by The Kinks (His other covers EPs include Morrissey, Shirley Collins, and Sam Cooke). He performed the Kinks song “Harry Rag” for the first time on the tour, which earned a warm reception. The show wrapped up with an encore of all three parts of The Crane Wife from the 2006 album of the same name. This left the crowd slightly nostalgic — but also curious as to what may be next on Meloy’s agenda.


1.”The Singer Addresses His Audience”
2.”July, July”
3.”Calamity Song”
4.”Los Angeles, I’m Yours”
5.”Harry Rag” (The Kinks)
6.”Won’t Want For Love (Margaret in the Taiga)”
7.”Tristan & Iseolte” (Tarkio)
8. New Song
9.”Engine Driver”
10.”On the Bus Mall”
11.”January Hymn”
12.”California One/Youth and Beauty Brigade”


13. “Crane Wife 1”
14. “Crane Wife 2”
15. “Crane Wife 3”

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