Reviews \

Colin Meloy’s Musical Tales Serenade Chicago Fans

Behind his new solo set, Sings Live!, the Decemberists bandleader strums out six-string stories for Windy City faithfuls.

Lizz Kannenberg // April 22, 2008

“I’m going to play some songs for you,” Colin Meloy announced rather unnecessarily as he took the stage at Chicago’s posh Park West venue last night (April 21). “Hopefully, you will be, in turn, entertained.” And the bookish Meloy seemed to have no trouble making sure his devout, rapt crowd was just that, treating them to Decemberists gems like “Leslie Ann Levine,” “The Apology Song,” and “We Both Go Down Together.”

Jovial and prone to charmingly awkward interactions with the crowd, including an assessment of the coolness of the T-shirts sported by fans in the front row, Meloy’s good-natured self-deprecation kept him acutely connected to his audience. He enjoyed the support of some 700 voices on “O Valencia!,” andrequested (and received!) a raucous guitar solo singalong during the smooth, ’70s folk-pop of “The Perfect Crime #2.” It’s a good thing Meloy possesses such an easy, “aw shucks” charisma — it keeps his dramatic lyrical images and fantastical stories grounded in an accessible, entrancing package.

We asked:Before Sings Live!, Colin Meloy recorded two other live EPs, one of Morrissey songs and another of Shirley Collins songs. Which music icon would you like to see Meloy tackle next?

Colin Meloy / Photo by Karen Chan

Colin Meloy / Photo by Karen Chan

Colin Meloy / Photo by Karen Chan