It's close to midnight at the Rotunda on 40th and Walnut. On the steps outside, a cypher of about 20 hip-hop heads huddle in close as a ghetto blaster thumps old school loops and two emcees in the middle face-off: "Common nigga, you don't think that's a lie / That's like saying when I spit it I don't spit fly / That's like saying you ain't you and I ain't I / Like this ain't the Gathering it's a street word fight." The crowd goes nuts, leaning back like witnesses of a car wreck to reward the verbal beating.
If there is a white picket fence along the rock-star trajectory, Chris Funk has likely found it. The Decemberists' jack-of-all-instruments (guitarists first and foremost; banjo, mandolin, bouzouki, pedal steel, glockenspiel, and hammered dulcimer follow suit) has a few weeks to spend with his family in Portland, Oregon before casting off on full tours of the U.S.
The second coming of 2005's indie darlings Clap Your Hands Say Yeah is upon us. And while the alt-rock prophets will wait with baited blogs until the January 30 release date, don't expect lead singer and Philadelphia native Alec Ounsworth to indulge their rapture.