Friday, October 10, 2008

Concert Review: Death Cab for Cutie


I've waited a couple of days to give this review of Wednesday night's Death Cab for Cutie show at Lifestyles Community Pavilion in Columbus because I needed some time to let it settle in. Death Cab is a band that I first had back in 2002 on their album "The Photo Album," and since then, their music has had tremendous personal meaning to me. "Transatlanticism" basically got me through high school and "We Have the Facts and We're Voting Yes" has been in regular rotation since starting college. All that being said, I think I came into Wednesday night's show with high expectations.

Unfortunately, I was pretty disappointed in my concert going experience. I'm just a few short months away from turning 22, but I felt particularly old and more concert savvy than everyone else at the show. I commented to my roommate whom I was with that I'd never been to a show where the audience didn't care that they were there. Throughout the entire show, people were talking loudly, ignoring every song that was on an album before "Plans" (with the exception of "Sound of Settling"). Cellphones have replaced lighters and you could tell when the crowd didn't like a song because they all pulled out their cameras with their bright LCD screens illuminating the night. As someone who attaches great personal meaning to music, I can't fault someone for finding "Plans" and "Narrow Stairs" their personal favorite albums, but it truly baffled me to see so many people who shelled out around $50 to see the show just ignore it whenever an old song came up. Usually, I go to a show because I like a band overall, not for an album or two.

As for the music itself, the band has been better. They aren't a dynamic live act like My Morning Jacket, but they usually deliver a solid and entertaining show. On Wednesday, they seemed to be holding back just a little bit. To me, the best moment of all of "Plans" is Chris Walla's solo on "Crooked Teeth" where the band seems just to just let go and fall into the echos of his solo. While the echo was there at the show, the grandiose swoop of it all wasn't. Similarly, the crash into the instrumentals of "We Looked Like Giants" wasn't really there, instead muted to sound plain and generic. They saved a lot of the epic rocking for new songs, including "Long Division" and "I Will Possess Your Heart."

The setlist of the show was pretty solid, covering a great deal of the band's catologue. IT was great to hear "We Have the Facts" tracks like "Employment Pages" and "Company Calls," and surprising to hear "Something About Airplanes'" "Champagne From a Paper Cup." They seemed to stay away from tracks from "Narrow Stairs," but the ones they played were done quite well.

This was not the best show I've been to, nor was it even close to the best Death Cab show I've been to (see: Bonnaroo 2006). I still can't decide if the crowd put me off so much I didn't enjoy the music or if it just truly wasn't that great. Regardless, it was overall all a fairly forgettable show.

Grade: C

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