Last Thursday at dawn, just before the Decemberists' send-off show at the Crystal Ballroom, their gear trailer vanished--and along with it nearly every piece of equipment the band owned. It had been parked outside keyboardist Jenny Conlee's house in SE Portland.

Lead singer Colin Meloy estimated the loss at $80,000, most of which wasn't insured. "That's something we now know to do," Meloy said, wryly.

The Decemberists had just returned to Portland from Eugene, where they'd played the first show in a two-month tour promoting their new LP, Picaresque. By borrowing and renting equipment they managed to play their sold-out show at the Crystal that night, and their Seattle show the next. But they had to postpone their Vancouver show in order to have an extra day to regroup. The trailer was found a few days later in a remote corner of Clackamas County--emptied of everything but boxes of T-shirts and CDs.

Their tour manager has sent out a gear list to every area music store in case someone comes in trying to sell the stolen goods, and area musicians have pitched in to help the band replace their equipment and kickoff their national tour.

"Everyone has been hugely helpful," Meloy said. "Nearly every music store in town has loaned us things." Pioneer Music and Trade Up were particularly generous, and Martin Guitars sent the band two new guitars. Meloy's uncle brought up his 12-string from Corvallis.

"The whole thing, even though it was soul-numbingly devastating, has been amazing--just to see the amount of support we have," added Meloy.

Fans and friends of the band can help by checking out the gear list on, in case you see any of the stolen equipment in pawnshops or on craigslist. ERIN ERGENBRIGHT


After being nudged out by Sam Adams in the most recent elections, Nick Fish is resurfacing this Sunday as a political pundit. During his campaign, Fish lamented the lack of quality TV coverage for local issues. To fill in this void, Fish has struck a deal with the WB (yeah, the same channel that delivers top-quality teen dramas and hottie weather girls). Starting this Sunday, he will host a weekly roundtable--at, well, a pre-dawn hour. Set your TiVo. Sunday, WB, 6:30 am. PB