Since releasing 2006's The Crane Wife
, the Decemberists
have faced a typical dilemma for rising, formerly underground bands: How do you play to larger audiences in larger halls and still make a connection? The Decemberists' response has been to increase crowd participation. By all accounts, the band's been on fire this tour: conducting sing-alongs, staging dance contests, re-enacting ancient tales, partaking in genial crowd-surfing and busting out impromptu Smiths covers. Some have faulted the group for having an overly precious approach think Wes Anderson directing a group of high school drama-club alumni but it's exactly this approach that has earned the Decemberists one of the most loyal, enthusiastic fanbases since Belle & Sebastian left their bedsits.