Death Cab for Cutie has been quite busy this year since the release of their latest effort, Transatlanticism. They came through Cleveland last night on their second headlining tour of the United States since the album came out. Based on the sold-out sign at The Odeon last night, I can tell you that the numbers of fans are growing very quickly. Since the last tour, Death Cab have played two late night talk shows, which I am sure has contributed to their recent popularity.
The audience was wired for the show and despite the fact that the show was at one of Cleveland's blandest venues, The Odeon (a converted warehouse with about as much charm as a fresh, new Wal-Mart,) the bands on stage more than made up for it.
Aveo (pronounced a-VAY-oh) came up first and played their eccentric brand of rock. They are a 3-piece from the Seattle area and they have an interesting sound. Lush mellow melodies that rise and fall with a Morrisey-esque voice to round out the sound. They are label-mates of Death Cab for Cutie on Barsuk Records.
Next was Ben Kweller, who played with an excellent backup band. I really didn't enjoy the first half of his set all that much. I am not sure exactly why either. Then he broke it down with just an acoustic guitar somewhere in the middle and this is where it got interesting. He did an acoustic version of Ice Ice Baby, which was nice, strangely enough. Then he broke into a song, which had verses that recalled "Big Empty" by Stone Temple Pilots before rocking out the show with a couple crowd favorites that I didn't know. I am sorry I wasn't more familiar with Kweller's catalog.
Death Cab headlined the show and really put on one of the better performances I have seen from them in a while. They opened with "The New Year" which builds from the bombast of the opening chords into the vocal harmonies by Ben Gibbard and Chris Walla at the end. They played this song on Craig Kilborn's show a couple month's ago and it is a real crowd favorite.