MAB gives Decemberists another shot

Indie-rock band the Decemberists will give the U of C’s fall concert another try after canceling days before the show last year.

By Michael Lipkin

Indie-rock band the Decemberists will give the U of C’s fall concert another try after canceling days before the show last year, the Major Activities Board (MAB) announced Monday. The concert will be held on November 1 in Mandel Hall at 8 p.m.

The five-piece band from Portland, OR, was tapped last fall to headline MAB’s first show of the year. But less than two weeks before the show, the band pulled out because a band member became ill. MAB hired comedian Demetri Martin to replace the band.

“We actually wanted to steer away from them ,” MAB chairperson Soraya Lambott said. “But they asked for us back and were really eager to come back. They were sorry they couldn’t come last time.”

The Decemberists are known for their use of erudite lyrics and narrative, as well their musical experimentalism.

MAB members brainstormed over the summer on what bands they were interested in booking, including the Decemberists. But they were not MAB’s first choice, Lambott said, because the Board wasn’t sure they would be able to hire them because of availability and price.

“Then our booking agent told us that the Decemberists wanted to come back. They told us that if we placed a bid, they would most likely take it,” Lambott said. MAB booked them soon after, in early August (one of their earliest secured contracts). Lambott said that the added downtime between bookings allows MAB to get better picks in the future.

Lambott said that one potential downside to picking the Decemberists for the second year in a row was that they might be viewed as unexciting.

“That was a concern in the beginning, but because last year people were so disappointed that they didn’t come, it seemed like a pretty safe bet,” Lambott said. “Due to such a popular response from last year, we thought it would be a logical choice.”

Last year, MAB sold out all three of its shows, including the Decemberists’ concert, and expects similar turnout this year.

When the Decemberists were slated to perform last year, they planned to bring the two opening acts from their tour. Since their current tour has no opening acts, they will perform alone.

“In the past, we tried to bring DJs as opening acts, but prices for popular DJs are increasing at the moment. We also don’t have an opening act on the top of our head that would match the Decemberists,” Lambott said. “They’re a strong enough act that they can carry the show themselves.”

She added that because they would be performing alone, the Decemberists would probably play for two hours.

MAB is a student organization that brings entertainment events to the U of C campus each quarter.

In past quarters, MAB has brought Talib Kweli, Andrew Bird, and George Clinton to campus. 

Tickets are available at the Reynolds Club and will be $15 for students and $20 for faculty if purchased before the show; door tickets will be five dollars more.