Show Review (Riviera Theater, Chicago)

    The Oregon-based Decemberists brought their “Twilight in the Fearful Forest” tour to Chicago’s historic Riviera Theater on April 18 and 19, armed with a new album, 2006’s The Crane Wife; a new label, Capitol Records; and the same old hyper-literate melodic sound. Said sound was complemented by well-choreographed lighting and spherical paper lanterns that cast an ethereal glow over Colin Meloy and his troupe onstage. The set list included a blend of material from The Crane Wife and its predecessor, 2005’s Picaresque. Throughout the set the musicians picked from an impressive palate of instruments that included stand-up bass, pedal-steel guitar, banjo, mandolin, violin, tambourine, keyboard and accordion. But the highlight was the opening song, “Crane Wife, Parts 1 and 2”: Meloy appeared onstage alone at first, singing the song as somewhat of a balladeer, and then the other members of the band took the stage one by one, building the music into an explosive crescendo of guitars, voices and lights.