Triangle Arts and Entertainment – News and Reviews Theatre Dance Music Arts

The Decemberists: All grown up and still with the whale

Despite clouds and precipitation, attendees at the Red Hat Amphitheater in Raleigh, NC Wednesday night were treated to the one-two punch of Shovels and Rope & The Decemberists. From neighboring Charleston, South Carolina, Shovels and Rope are the husband and wife duo of Michael Trent and Cary Ann Hearst, who combined their individual solo careers to form an act that is a mixture of folk and various rock styles. Their upbeat tempo was an electrifying start to the show and it was amazing to see so much sound and energy produced with the usage of just a guitar and a drum set. Cary Ann Hearst was particularly engaging with her wild mane of hair, soulful vocals and larger than life presence harkening back to female musicians from the Janis Joplin era.

The Decemberists on stage June 3, 2015 (photo credit to Simon & Katie Stokes).

The Decemberists take the stage (photo credit to Simon & Katie Stokes).

The openers prepped the crowd for the seasoned showmanship and captivating performance of The Decemberists. Hailing from Portland, Oregon, the folk quartet functions as an indie rock band with an eclectic sound and lyrics describing accounts of tales and historical events. Audience participation is another trademark of the band and lead singer Colin Meloy’s razor sharp wit was on full display as he engaged the crowd in banter. Though many of the songs performed were from their newest album, this year’s What a Terrible World, What a Beautiful World, they also serviced the fans by revisiting classics “The Crane Wife 1&2” & “Calamity Song” from 2006’s The Crane Wife.” The Mariner’s Revenge Song” (off 2005’s Picaresque) was a fitting close to the rainy night, having been used for the encore at live shows since its release back in 2006 and as the literal last words heard by the audience from the band.

The Decemberists performing "The Mariner's Revenge Song" (photo credit to Simon & Katie Stokes).

The Decemberists performing “The Mariner’s Revenge Song” (photo credit to Simon & Katie Stokes).

The Decemberists are currently on tour. Dates, location and venue, as well as more info on the band can be found at

For more on Shovel and Rope, please visit


Lamarr Fowlkes is a Raleigh, NC based writer, contributing to Triangle Arts & Entertainment. A current enrollee at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill completing a degree in Mass Communication, descendent of Welsh heritage, and hockey fanatic, Lamarr will continue to provide arts and entertainment event reviews for the Triangle when not attending to his studies. To read more of Lamarr’s posts for Triangle Arts and Entertainment, click

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