My Brightest Diamond
Orlando, Fl • April 8, 2007
When epic indie rock that’s heavy with literary allusions, like what The Decemberists create, can sell out a large venue like the Hard Rock Live it gives me hope for the state of music. Touring behind last year’s The Crane Wife, the Portland outfit adds no bells and whistles to their performance, but with songs as strong in lyric and structure as the ones penned by frontman Colin Meloy- none are needed.
Opening the night was Brooklyn’s My Brightest Diamond, who is essentially the work of vocalist/guitarist Shara Worden. The cute little pixie of a performer has got a voice like an old torch singer like Billie Holliday, and the playfulness of Tori Amos. She chats sweetly with the crowd who yell things like, “Sleep with me!” To which she coolly replies, “I just did.” Her music jumps between the operatic to the classical to folk rock and straight-up rock. She was backed by a bassist and drummer who added a little extra aggression to her music, but the focus clearly was on her alone. Being that the show fell on Easter night, she won the hearts of the audience by telling a sweet story about how much she misses her pet bunny Alice. So much so that she ran out and bought a bunch of Easter bunny cards and has them on display in her motel room to remind her of her cuddly pet.
Deep within the heat of the 3,000 fans I met many people who had travelled hours or even states to see The Decemberists play in our humble little Hard Rock Live. This is a band well on their way to a long, respected career in the way of Modest Mouse, or Death Cab For Cutie. Smart music for smart fans who want a little more than just a good hook in a song.
The nice long set started off pretty mellow, but things really began to heat up when the band played “16 Military Wives.” The already pop-friendly tune (a fun antiwar song!) was brought to the next level when Meloy led the crowd in a comical sing-a-long of the chorus, “La-di-da-di-da-didi-didi-da.”
Meloy’s sarcastic distate for the touristy side of Orlando was amusing, “I wish that I could see more of Orlando other than Universal City.” What’s further amusing is the band’s song “O Valencia.” I wonder if anyone told him that there was a popular community college just three miles away called Valencia, of which- I’m willing to bet- a large percentage of the audience were enrolled.
Midway through the nearly 2 hour set, My Brightest Diamond’s Shara Worden joined the band onstage for a song and the result was worthy of bootleg. Hell, the whole show was worthy of bootleg- let just hope someone was recording!