Last Thursday I started my trip home from Utah to Texas after having been there three and a half years. I packed up my little car and headed out on the road, planning to spread the trip over two days. I reached Albuquerque Thursday night and stayed there, and twelve hours later I got back on the road toward Dallas. One ticket and ten hours later I made it, just in time to go to the Other Lives/Decemberists show at the House of Blues.
I’ve never been to the venue or any House of Blues, and while it was nice enough and the sound was good, it still felt like a corporate entity trying to come off as less than as much. This isn’t a venue review though, so on to the music!
Other Lives are from Stillwater, OK making them a suitable candidate for opening the show. Their sound has a lot of the same influences, and while there are only five in their group in comparison to the Decemberists’ six-member touring band, Other Lives sounded louder and more majestic than much of the headliner’s music. Almost every member of Other Lives played at least three different instruments, often two at the same time. Even the drummer had a clarinet he pulled out during a drumless section. I was interested in how the band’s album, Tamer Animals, would sound in a live setting and I’m glad to say it sounds just as warm and compelling live. If they come near you I would definitely recommend seeing them.
The Decemberists were, for a long time, my favorite band. Years went on and I went on hearing new music and they lost some of that love from me, but I’ve always had an affection for them. Over the past decade I’ve seen them many times, and also failed to see them because I was too young to enter the venue, and had to sit outside hearing them through the walls. So seeing them again for the first time since SXSW 2009 when they premiered The Hazards of Love in its entirety, I was able to hear songs I never heard them play from The Crane Wife and of course their newest album The King is Dead. I think their newest songs sounded full-bodied in comparison to their older work, which often sounded flat and pre-recorded. It was still fun to remember old times and relive being swallowed by a whale during “The Mariner’s Revenge Song.”
Many thanks to Grace for getting me into the show, and of course the bands for playing. I only wish I could have found my camera amongst all my junk in the back of my car!
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