Death Cab For Cutie Concert Review

A few months back I published a list of songs the band should play live on the tour, in the hopes that maybe they’d read it and fulfill a few of them, more like all of them, I went back this morning and found myself looking at said list and counting the actual songs that they did play and it was only 4. Four out of ten plus songs that I so craved to hear were played. Sure they played the big ones, the ones people wanted to hear, needless to say even still I wasn’t disappointed. The show though on the other hand was phenomenal. Amazing. Several people told me this would be the show for me and I doubted them just a bit cause you know new songs being thrown in the mix but alas they were not wrong. And now time to go through the full review!

If you remember correctly I took advantage of going to the Cut Copy show in March to scope out how this place will be for DCFC. Not that I didn’t enjoy the Cut Copy show, I did, I just used it as a chance to get an idea what it would be like all the while enjoying that show. After waiting in line for what seemed like forever just to get in, we booked it into the tiny venue. Hitting a small merch area (literally it was small and didn’t have the greatest selection) and then killing time for the 8:00 opening act. The opening act was a band that was produced by DCFC member Chris Walla and they also were from the Seattle area, so keep that in mind folks if you want to tour with a big band, make sure someone in that band produces for you and you’re from the same area.

Anyways the opening act, The Lonely Forest, sounded a lot like a cross between Jimmy Eat World and Death Cab. That wasn’t an awful sound, but next to no one knew who they were. That’s okay if you think about it, they were good sports about the whole hey we are just the opening act we know who you are here to see and we don’t blame you sort of thing. After breezing through their 35 minute set that seemed at times to go by really fast and really slow the band walked off the stage and it was time to set up for the real act.

As they walked out on stage they opened with a track off of Narrow Stairs, “I Will Possess Your Heart” The song sounded very similar to the album version of it but it had a deeper sound. It was more vast and powerful than it was on the record probably because of all the acoustics and what not but they started off with the nine minute long epic track about a stalker. Not a bad way to start the night, granted lead singer Ben Gibbard seemingly tripped on his guitar cord a few times and seemed a bit flustered.

As the song ended a familiar series of chords that would end up being the opening track from Transatlanticism entitled “The New Year.” It felt like this show just might be a giant sing along as it seemed the band encouraged it and the crowd was getting into it. At times though it seemed like the mic gave out for just a moment, a minor technical glitch. The thing though about DCFC is that they sound phenomenal live, they have a heavier side to them that you see at live events, at the same time it’s not like it’s horrible lip syncing (cause he sounds so similar on the album) but he adds variety to his tone. The fact that I stood there “dancing” along to the band’s amazing sound was incredible.

They moved on to yet another song from another album, this time off of The Photo Album.Why You’d Want To Live Here.” I love this song. I really do, it’s the song I listen to while I walk around the city of Philadelphia only changing the lyrics from being about LA to Philly. I was amazed by how they went from one album to another album without playing a song off of the same album. As they played this one I wondered if they would deviate from the previous sets lists.

They followed it up with a track off of Plans that shocked me. “Crooked Teeth” was a track that I never thought they would play, needless to say I was pleased. This song has a real good lyrical perspective or what not. I guess I have a soft spot in my heart for this song. It sounded great with the acoustics, I hated the lighting though, the bright lights being shot into my eyes continuously.

They followed it up with a track off of a really old album of theirs We Have the Facts And We’re Voting Yes called “Photobooth.” The sad part is I really didn’t know the song that well but I knew the chorus, so I was able to sing along with it. To which they ended up following up with a new track “Some Boys.” Needless to say the girlfriend loved it and it marked the first of a few songs that I didn’t know 100%. It still sounded great though live. The problem though with playing the new albums tracks is the fact that they have that electronicy sound to them and we find out later in the show.

They followed it with two tracks off of Narrow Stairs with “Long Division” and “Grapevine Fires.” The band never really talked too much, not like they have horrible stage presence but they were most likely rushing to due to the fact that their next show was in Boston. Grapevine sounded amazing once again live. It sounded more emotional and powerful compared to what it does on the album, granted it still sounds great on the album but there was something about it live that made it better.

Codes and Keys” was the next track, and I bet you can guess what album it’s off of. The biggest problem of this song was the fact that there was no string in the actual performance so they did some form of synthesized version and it just sounded a bit off otherwise the song would be just as good live as on the album, I really do like this song. I think though if Ben did a solo tour this would be a song that would work well.

Following up I couldn’t help but tear up as the opening keys were struck by Gibbard on the piano to the track that is off of Plans entitled “What Sarah Said.” This rendition of the song was beautiful and intimate. It felt like it was just me and Ben in the room and he was singing the song to me, no homo of course. I knew how great this song was before they played it live and so hearing it here, in this location at this time was amazing. the sound was at this point getting better mix wise. How do you follow up a very somber song like this? You give Ben an acoustic and then have a sing along to another Plans track “I Will Follow you Into the Dark.” It was beautiful and amazing. Every single person was singing along with the tune. It was so awesome. Awe inspiring. Words can’t describe it.

With another track off of We Have The Facts… was “Title Track.” Yet another one of the few songs I wasn’t really familiar with but even still it was nice to hear it as compared to something we’d be less likely to hear or something. They then followed up with two more new tracks “You Are A Tourist” and “Underneath the Sycamore.” Tourist sounded pretty good, which doesn’t surprise me as much, and it sounded pretty good as compared to say Sycamore. Sycamore sounded like it was a track by the Killers and it didn’t translate exceedingly well live, while Tourist it seemed that they had some tech difficulties with the echo and reverb.

The next track was off of You Can Play These Songs with Chords called “Pictures in an Exhibition.” I didn’t know the track that well, as I am not exceedingly well versed in their older albums, not that I’m the worst fan in the world for not knowing them but even still it wasn’t an awful track, but the damn lighting kept bothering me, when it got shined in my eyes. They proceeded with a song that I didn’t want to hear from the New Moon SoundtrackMeet Me on the Equinox” in which all the Twilight fans were singing along. It wasn’t a bad song but it wasn’t the greatest simply ecause of the Twilight-ness of it all.

Company Calls” off of We Have The Facts is the next track that they chose to play, and much to my dismay I thought they would play the epilogue to the song but they didn’t. Oh well. This song was still pretty solid live, but then again like I have been saying the whole time they do a great job of sounding awesome still.

A new track was played “Doors Unlocked and Open” and you could tell that with the song that they were winding down the set and preparing to head out and get cheered on for an encore. This is one of my favorite tracks from the album and it sounded great live. Just like it was on the album which is always a plus, and the few people singing along was a slight bit of determent but overall solid track and performance.

With only a handful of tracks left they returned to Plans and played “Soul Meets Body.” It was awesome. More tears flew from my eyes. The song sounded awesome plus everyone was singing along with the actual song itself. To which they followed up with Narrow Stairs single “Cath….” which even still sounded really good even still. They followed up and closed out the first set with Transatlanticism track “The Sound of Settling.” Of course this was a great way to close out the main set, it was great, sadly no one really was singing along which made me quite sad.

The encore consisted of four songs, three of them old. The first one was another song I really liked off of the new album “Stay Young, Go Dancing.” I really like this song a lot, and it sounded better live. They followed it up with “Title and Registration.” So far this encore is awesome, I love Title and it’s one of my top five favorite songs of all time. The song sounded awesome no matter what I think or say so take that. We went back to The Photo Album with “A Movie Script Ending.” Another great track to feature in the encore. Tear were shared yes, but it was a great way to lead into what would be the final track of the night. The set and the night closed up with in my opinion one of the most beautiful song ever written, “Transatlanticism.”

My final thoughts on the show is this. It was the greatest show I have ever been to. The venue was great for the band. The sound was amazing, the music was incredible. Everything was perfect about the show except the large amount of people that were there and the crampedness of the entire thing. I look forward to them playing in the city of brotherly love once more in August.

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About Angerbanjo

As passionate as one can be about certain topics it is hard to make a living with that passion, that being said my passion for nerd culture, modern music and video gaming has yet to translate into anything moderately successful, that and my degree in electronic media, but hey at least I can use that journalism minor. View all posts by Angerbanjo

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