I went and saw Death Cab for Cutie this weekend in Chicago at the famed Metro. As I told people who I was going to see, many of them thought that it was going to be some crazy metal rock show or something because of the band’s name. Plus, nobody can ever seem to remember it. Over the weekend I heard people call them “Death to the Cabbies,” “Death for Cutie,” and finally “Death Cab for Smoochie.” No, this is not hyperbole.
Regardless of people’s abilities to remember the band’s name they put on a great show. They opened the show with the new album’s closing song, A Lack of Color. From there they traveled through a number of songs from “The Photo Album” while not ignoring earlier stuff from “We Have the Facts and We’re Voting Yes.” (And yes, that is actually the album title.)
We got to hear The Sound of Settling from the new one, Company Calls and Company Calls Epilogue, President of What?, Styrofoam Plates, We Laugh Indoors, and others before closing the set. In a review of the new album from a few weeks ago (CLICK HERE TO READ), I had said that Transatlanticism (the song) is the breaking point for the album. I was actually surprised it wasn’t at the end of the album. When Death Cab broke out Tiny Vessels after over an hour playing, I had the feeling that we were going to get Transatlanticism to close the set.
Death Cab rocked through Tiny Vessels, which is one of my favorite songs from the new album. Then as the electronic rhythm pulsed in the background at the end of the song, Chris Walla put down the bass he was playing and grabbed a guitar. Ben Gibbard put down his guitar in favor of the keyboard/piano setup to the right of the drummer. Then came the opening notes of Transatlanticism with just Gibbard and the piano. The song is a complete build for about 5 minutes before the epic ending. Before that peak was hit, Ben Gibbard abandoned the piano for his guitar and they really pounded out the rest of the song, waved to the audience and walked offstage.
The crowd brought them back quickly for an encore and they played Blacking Out the Friction, which melted straight into their cover of Bjork’s All is Full of Love from the Stability E.P. They left us with one of the heaviest most rocking versions of No Joy in Mudville that I could have asked for. I never thought I would ever see Death Cab play anything that rocked that hard, but the crowd was loving it and the band really appeared to have a great time.
I am sure some people were disappointed that they didn’t play 405, and thankfully there weren’t too many calls for Postal Service songs, but I don’t think anybody was unsatisfied walking out the door.