Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Death Cab Played The Greek

Last Saturday we were convinced to tag along with some friends to The Greek Theater to catch Rogue Wave and Death Cab For Cutie. Unfortunately, we only caught the tail end of Rogue Wave's set, but from what we saw they were positively nailing it, and the crowd was loving it appropriately. As for Death Cab, the band delivered largely what we had been expecting when we decided to attend the show. Thankfully, there were some surprises as well.

As for what we expected, well, if you've heard a Death Cab album, you probably already know: Achingly well produced songs with heart-on-sleeve lyrics, some tentative experimental elements, and Ben Gibbard's distinctive sing song-y vocals. What we weren't really expecting was the ability of the band to "rock", and a nicely diversified setlist.

Gibbard has really done a lot in the last couple of years to spruce up his rock star image: he's lost weight, grown some mutton chops, and got a true rock and roll stage presence going on. Moreover, we were surprised to see that many of the band's lead guitar lines are played by Gibbard, and not by Chris Walla. The band definitely was putting forth a rock and roll vibe, and on many of the songs, there was a musical rapport that we hadn't expected.

As a band who have recently amassed a major label contract, and a huge group of teenage fans to go along with it, we were somewhat fearful that the band might be relegated to a "recent albums only" setlist. Thankfully this was not the case, and the band delivered a few choice cuts off of their early records, including two of our favorites from Transatlanticism.

While not a show that will shock you with it's originality or divergence from album material, we do have to say that the Death Cab live experience pleasantly surprised us. The band nails their instrumentation, and delivers enough of a new take on the songs that it's memorable. On top of that, Gibbard's live energy and enthusiasm really is something worth noting. Our guess is the guy was a camp counselor in another life, but we're guessing rock star is a way cooler gig.

More pictures at the H.A.D. Archive.
Gussifer also has some nice shots at flickr.