Ah, the Decemberists, a band that has long inspired strong devotion amongst its fans. Last night's show at The National was different, though, than the last time I saw the band in April 2007. At that show, the audience wasn't just completely engaged, they were respectful and absolutely silent during ALL of the band's songs. The ONLY noise the audience made was the clapping in between songs.
Fast forward two years and legions of "fans" have joined the Decemberists' audience and, unfortunately for the band and the devoted, these people did not hesitate to hoot, holler and talk during the band's performance of its rock opera, "The Hazards of Love" last night. Too bad, really, because the Decemberists' music deserves a listening room atmosphere in order to be fully appreciated. So much more complex and unique than your average indie act, this is , for lack of a better term, chamber pop, and there's so much to hear that is lost when people are shouting inane things like, "I love you!" and "woo-hoo!"
One of the sound guys told me that at a recent Decemberists' show in Atlanta, the audience wasn't just loud and shouting throughout, but actually climbing on top of each other. The band was completely perplexed as to how their music caused such a reaction.
I'm so glad I got to hear the band perform their opus live last night. I'm so sorry that the audience didn't shut up and show the band the respect such talent deserves.