I’ve been obsessed with the Decemberists’ latest album since I went to their concert last Thursday. I should have taken a picture – we were on the floor and pretty close up – but I was too enthralled by the music to bother. My favorite songs on the album are The Crane Wife 3, Shankill Butchers, and Sons and Daughters. Oh but they’re all so good, and their last album is fantastic, too. (Can you tell I grew up in the 70s by the fact that I keep saying “album”?) My opinion of a band rests so much on what they’re like live, what their personalities are like, and my favorites of the ones I’ve seen live in the last couple of years have been Norah Jones, Belle & Sebastian and The Decemberists. I couldn’t stand Jack White, even though I love the White Stripes’ music. But The Decemberists are wonderful onstage. They have six members now and they played a gazillion different instruments – many guitars, a xylophone, an accordion, a stand-up bass, a cello, and a banjo to name a few. Some highlights of the show were Colin’s commentaries about the San Francisco Tenderloin, the whole auditorium singing “Hear the bombs fade away” over and over, and Colin taking a cell phone from a kid in the front row, calling his mom and playing the next song live into the phone.