I saw The Decemberists at the Commodore Ballroom on Saturday night - excellent show. It's reassuring to know America is still capable of providing songwriters who can deploy words like 'rastabout' and 'purloined' with effect and accuracy. :) Most enjoyable moment was the epic 'The Mariner's Revenge Song', an eight minute story of one man's lifelong quest for revenge on the man who wrecked his mother's life, which reaches its most dramatic point with the hero chasing his quarry across the high seas before both their ships are swallowed by a giant whale (at which point the audience was encouraged to act as the unfortunate crews, something we did with great enthusiasm), followed by this verse:

Don't know how I survived The crew all were chewed alive I must have slipped between his teeth But oh, what providence What divine intelligence You should survive as well as me

It gives me great pleasure to see your face fill with fear So lean in close and I will whisper the last words you'll hear...

Which is followed by the grisly refrain of the song, detailing the hero's mother's anatomically precise description of the exact revenge she wished to be exacted, but in a touch of genius, at this climactic moment the refrain isn't actually sung. It's just played - in a quite upbeat style - on the accordion. The effect is much better that way. Brilliant song. :)


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