we are bound by symmetry

The Decemberists played August 5, 2009 at the Overture Center for the Arts in Madison, WI. Photos and a full review to (probably) come later, but for now, here are some videos from the night:

we like the same things and i like your style

Zooey Deschanel is the most adorable performer I’ve ever seen.  Taking the Barrymore Theater stage in an electric blue dress and matching flower in her hair, Deschanel delivered on the hype with her partner in crime M. Ward as She & Him on 08.08.08 in Madison, WI.

Opening the show was Lavender Diamond‘s Becky Stark. With a beautifully clear voice, Stark brought a mix of childlike idealism and mid-century country-folk style to her performance. She & Him served as Stark’s backing band, and Stark didn’t let the star power behind her overshadow her. That being said, the strongest points of her performance were when dueting with Deschanel – their voices blended perfectly for a transcendent listening experience. As I had once kept my fingers crossed for Deschanel to release an album, I will now burn a candle for these two ladies to collaborate a la The Watson Twins.

After a short break, the ensemble returned to the stage, this time with Ward and Deschanel in front. While Ward tended to hug stage right, hunched over and introverted, Deschanel shone center stage. Though quiet and almost timid in demeanor, her voice was larger than life and filled the theater with its warmth. Also, Deschanel finally seemed comfortable in her role as chanteuse, only occasionally betraying her insecurity with fidgeting, intertwined fingers while debuting her newly written material. Gladly for her, there was nothing to fear – the new songs were quite good and well-received.

She & Him was at its best when Ward and Deschanel played off each other. Ward’s tenderly bruised voice is underutilized on the album, so the songs are that much more special when he chimes in. Whether the two were sitting next to each other on the piano bench or looking longingly across the stage during “You Really Got A Hold On Me”, the connection between Deschanel and Ward is palpable. The ease between the two propelled the pair past the level met on Volume One for a wonderfully lovable performance.

PARTIAL SHE & HIM SETLIST: Sentimental Heart, Why Do You Let Me Stay Here?, This Is Not A Test, Change Is Hard, I Thought I Saw Your Face Today, You Really Got A Hold On Me, Black Hole, Got Me, I Should Have Known Better, Sweet Darlin’