Death Cab For Cutie @ Showbox Sodo 5.11.11

May 11, 2011

Photo: Steven Graham

Last night, Death Cab For Cutie returned to the stage, ending a 2 year absence from the live scene at the Showbox Sodo. Starting promptly on time, surprising for an early 8:30 show the band emerged and kicked things off like they hadn't been away a day as they launched into the triumphant sound of Transatlanticism opener "The New Year". The crowd, a wash of 20 somethings, teens, and those who'd been with the band from the beginning all erupted in cheers, excited to be taking part in the spontaneity of something that no one could have predicted they'd be a part of 2 days prior.

The first left turn of the set came 5 songs in when the band debuted the heavily processed "Some Boys" from the forthcoming Codes and Keys record which effectively silenced the room, many eager to ingest their first taste of an album cut. As the rhythmic bassline echoed through the room, it was a strange site to see those who'd known every word along the way staring blank and captivated, processing, interpreting as the band segued into the Ben Gibbard solo debuted "Codes and Keys"

The set was also not without throwback deep cuts from all of their records excluding Something for airplanes, pulling out goodies like like "Photobooth", "Company Calls", "Title Track" and "405" before throwing a curve ball and busting out Twilight anthem "Meet Me On The Equinox" (which I've always felt sorta got a bad wrap, its really not a bad tune, especially in the live arena). Also an ironic rendition of "Why You'd Want To Live Here" (the song's words... "I'm in Los Angeles today: Garbage cans comprise the medians of freeways always creeping even when the population's sleeping. And I can't see why you'd want to live here.") sounding odd as Ben pointed out, a now full time resident of the city. It should also be noted that the stage was quite bare. No big back drop, no distracting light show, just 4 honest dudes making their version of the Seattle sound.
In summation I'll say that seeing Death Cab in a small environment now is I imagine a quite different beast than seeing them in younger years, cutting their teeth. It didn't feel innocent, it didn't feel like a struggle, this was a rare opportunity to see a band who have earned their status by becoming tighter, writing killer songs, headlining festivals across the country. I've seen DCFC 6 times now in enormous venues, and don't think for a second that just because you're in a small room the music doesn't resonate on the same epic scale.

Check out the full setlist below

"The New Year"
"Crooked Teeth"
"Some Boys"
"Codes and Keys"
"Company Calls"
"Long Division"
"Grapevine Fires"
"I Will Possess Your Heart"
"I Will Follow You Into the Dark"
"Title Track"
"You Are a Tourist"
"Under the Sycamore"
"Met Me on the Equinox"
"Doors Unlocked and Opened" (cross your fingers for this one at Sasquatch)
"Why You'd Want to Live Here"
"Soul Meets Body"
"Sound of Settling"

"Portable Television"
"Title and Registration"
"A Movie Script Ending"