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The Decemberists: Bleeding Hands Couldn’t Stop Them At The Fox

Playing their entire new album from start to finish, The Hazards Of Love has a refreshingly hard and gritty feeling that we’ve yet to see out of the upbeat reigning indie-pop royalty, The Decemberists. Theatrical folk ballads fall gracefully upon what singer, Colin Meloy describes as “heavy metal thunder.” Not exactly a new theme for the Portland quintet, the first half of the album was written in constant succession, while the second half is a mismatched thematic continuation of the folktale with a very openly interpretable ending. Vicious stories of love forlorn, forest queens, rage, murder and everything in between told through double entendre lyrics add up to an experimental album that the masses can still relate to. The result – a few sets of bleeding hands and a perfectly cohesive, beautiful composition that flows directly from start to finish.

While the first set of the show read like a forlorn Shakespeare tragedy complete with protagonists and leading ladies (lovingly played by guest performers and stars in their own right - Lavender Diamond’s Becky Stark and clear crowd favorite, My Brightest Diamond’s Shara Worden), the second half was like a trip down memory lane. Yet the dramatic irony refused to die with the first act. The final encore performed by the entire Decemberists family consisted of a drawn out, improv play about the Donner party right smack in the middle of general admission. And if evading pretend cannibalism wasn’t enough entertainment for the crowd, all one had to do was ooh and ahh at the newly restored Fox Theater in Oakland where the venue is just as majestical as the music.