Monday, June 6, 2011

Live Review: Death Cab For Cutie @ Paradise Rock Club, 6/5/11

When I first heard about Death Cab For Cutie playing the Paradise a few months back, I actually thought that there was a mistake on the Live Nation listing. 'Death Cab For Cutie at the Paradise!?' was the reaction verbatim, in fact. A major label band with a huge fanbase playing at a 700 capacity 'you've kinda made it' venue? Unheard of. After doing a little more research, I found out it was no mistake and that the band was touring a number of smaller venues up the East Coast. I tried to equate this to another band in a past and similar situation as I stood in line on the mild Boston night.

Nobody seemed to be drunk enough (or sober anymore) after a line like that, as cutting through the beyond sold out audience was almost stressful. But when the lights cut and everyone starts screaming, suddenly there's more room and everyone is happy - it's a beautiful thing.


Ben Gibbard didn't even waste his breath on a superfluous introduction, but instead just powered through 'Your Bruise,' 'The New Year' and 'We Laugh Indoors' much to the delight of the fans. The band knew that it was going to be their dedicated fans that came to this show, as material from their early records was almost perfectly balanced with tunes from last month's Codes and Keys. Gibbard even paused at one point to tell the audience this, saying they wanted to play 'a place like this' because they knew their 'hardcore fans' would come out. (He also added that he "fucking loves Boston," maybe to appear more edgy after all the recent backlash.)

Thanks to all that major-label keesh it seemed like you could taste Chris Walla's production, as Nick Harmer's low-end strings and Jason McGerr's crisp drumming anchored it all. Even songs with synths and drum tracks ("You Are A Tourist" and "Photobooth") sounded as if they were actually instruments and not recorded tracks. Even Gibbard's vocals - which are often shaky - seemed to stand on their own against the wall of sound behind him. He truly put this to the test when the rest of the band ran off stage and he played the acoustic song that helped thousands of hipsters and college kids get laid, "I Will Follow You Into The Dark." The crowd swayed and sung. Very Dispatch or something.

They jammed "I Will Possess Your Heart," bopped out "Soul Meets Body" and pogoed "The Sound of Settling" before saying goodnight and making everyone scream for more. Successfully, the guys mixed in "Stay Young, Go Dancing," "Styrofoam," "A Movie Script Ending" and the epic "Transatlanticism." Whether you're into the younger, more literately-lyricked Gibbard or the newly married sober songwriter, there's no denying that this group is still a cohesive and sonic powerhouse.

Is this like Muse coming to town and playing here? My mind still churns away...



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