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The Decemberists

Show Date: February 14, 2003

Another holiday at the Crocodile — this time, in the name of St. Valentine of Hallmark. The timing of the show worked out perfectly, as it served as an excellent gathering point for the imaginary posse, regardless of significant-other status.

Armed with many cocktails and charming companionship, we were ready for the stunning four band line-up of In Praise of Folly, The Decemberists, The Prom and Carissa's Wierd to play both cupid and counselor to our holiday festivies.

I was particularly eager to see Portland's The Decemberists. Ever since I'd heard a song or two of theirs on KEXP, I've been on the lookout for anything resembling a release of theirs. There was a strong possibility that their mix of Clem Snide, Starlight Mints the Mountain Goats and Neutral Milk Hotel might be the beginning of something special between me and the Decemberists. After all, it WAS Valentine's Day.

As I made my way through the set, I was torn between falling for the sultry swagger (accordian, cello and twang) and their smart tempting lyrical stylings (part straightforward storytelling, part poetically disjointed imagery). Within a half hour of being introduced, I knew that I was in trouble.

If only "Decemberist" were a shorter word, I would suggest that they have their name spelled out on pink Necco wafer candy hearts, alongside Be Mine and True Love.

Yes, I fell for them. And that is not just because the guitarist spelled out the word "Mojito" with sticker letters on his instrument… but for their ability to combine parts of four of my favorite bands into something that more than fills in the blanks, but creates a new landscape.