Concert Reviews

Death Cab for Cutie with Jenny Lewis at Echo Beach

Photos by Matt Forsythe.

For 22 years now Death Cab for Cutie have graced this earth. How does a band survive for so long? To quote Bear Grylls, the same way that everything does: “Improvise. Adapt. Overcome.” Their early years progressed from cassette ultra lo-fi into emo boy-next-door teenage drama over the course of 6 albums, a natural and fluid progression. The next three albums were a bit more tumultuous – between lead singer Ben Gibbard’s divorce and founding member Chris Walla departing from the band, they have faced substantial adversity.

And where has that adversity left them? On the Thank You For Today tour. Even just the name shows that they take none of their success for granted, and their songs back it up. The setlist, sporting five tracks from their newest record laced between hit after hit from years prior, quite simply rocked. “Gold Rush” is their modern masterpiece, harkening back to the lonely melancholy that permeated through their early work while simultaneously conveying the sense of maturity and adulthood that pervades their recent records. Opening with “I Dreamt We Spoke Again” and “The Ghosts of Beverly Drive” is a one-two punch of nostalgia, setting the tone for both the songs of yesteryear and their deeply reminiscent modern tracks. 

Tunes like “Crooked Teeth” and “We Looked Like Giants” further set the mood, while hits like “Title and Registration” and “Soul Meets Body” anchored the setlist and proved to be major crowd pleasers. Not all songs felt particularly on mood: “No Sunlight” in particular felt like a cheeky jab at the rainy weather endured by the brave Echo Beach concertgoers. But maybe that was just me being a bit bitter.

The highlight of the set, however, was the encore. Gibbard’s solo rendition of “I Will Follow You Into the Dark” was hauntingly beautiful, and the cover of “Nothing Better” from Gibbard’s now defunct electronic side project The Postal Service, featuring opener Jenny Lewis (the singer on the original track), was an extremely pleasant surprise. The interplay between Gibbard and Lewis was spectacular, and the band’s rendition of the dance track was stellar. Closing the night with “Transatlantacism” cemented the evening as one to remember: while both “I Will Possess Your Heart” and “We Looked Like Giants” featured incredible jams, neither compared to the 8 minute epic that was “Transatlanticism”. Like the lyrics of the song, it is truly a song that washes over you, filling every pore of your body, perfectly complimenting the nostalgic tone of the evening and wrapping up the sound in the best way possible.

Death Cab for Cutie have truly lost nothing in the many years since they formed – they have only evolved. Their new sound is just as powerful as it always has been, and they are worth every penny you’d spend to see them live.

Setlist:

I Dreamt We Spoke Again

The Ghosts of Beverly Drive

Long Division

Title and Registration

Gold Rush

Crooked Teeth

No Sunlight

What Sarah Said

60 & Punk

I Will Possess Your Heart

Autumn Love

Black Sun

Northern Lights

Cath…

We Looked Like Giants

Soul Meets Body

Encore:

I Will Follow You Into the Dark

Nothing Better (The Postal Service cover) (with Jenny Lewis)

Transatlanticism