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The Decemberists and Dr. John Highlight New and Old at JazzFest

Colin Meloy of the Decemberists performs at the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival

Tim Mosenfelder/Getty Images

“That was too dark for Jazz Fest,” Colin Meloy proclaimed after singing “The Rake’s Song” Sunday at the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival. Perhaps a tale of infanticide would have been too grim if performed by Arlo Guthrie or John Mellencamp, both of whom were performing at the same time elsewhere at the Fair Grounds, but the song’s infectious bounce had the audience singing the chorus-ending “alright.” The set drew heavily from the recent The King is Dead, but “The Calamity Song” and “This is Why We Fight” were greeted with the same excitement as “16 Military Wives,” “This Sporting Life” and the set-closing “The Mariner’s Revenge Song.”

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