Death Cab For Cutie

Death Cab For Cutie


To me, certain bands remind me of certain seasons and Autumn is definitely the season I listen to Death Cab For Cutie. Maybe it’s the autumnal scene on the front cover of their 2005 album Plans that links this idea but I think there’s just something very warming about their melodic indie-rock sound that comforts me on colder days and darker evenings.

Tonight is a near perfect Autumnal evening in Manchester. It’s just stopped raining and it’s a mild temperature outside which means the hats and coats are on but it’s not proper wrap up weather just yet. I arrive at the Manchester Academy just after tonight’s support Chastity Belt have played, which I do regret somewhat later on as I’ve heard positive reactions from around the venue, but an empty stomach and a plate of potato waffles have won the support act vs. tea battle this evening.

Me and the better half shuffle in just in time for the start of Death Cab’s set. Tonight the band are here on a brief trip to the UK in support of their eighth studio album Kintsugi which was released with much anticipation earlier this Spring. The album shows a similar sheen to 2011’s Codes And Keys album and is another sonically pleasing effort with lots of intricate sounds buried amongst strong, heart-felt song writing. This record was also the last album to feature long term guitarist and sometime producer Chris Walla who decided not to tour this album so it’s a weird feeling to be watching someone else play Chris’s most excellent guitar parts. However, we still have the familiar voice of Ben Gibbard up front who is as charming as ever with a beautiful voice that never misses a note. And of course a fearless rhythm section in bassist  Nick Harmer and drummer Jason McGerr who bring solid grooves to the bands more upbeat moments and help bring their more dynamic tracks to a beautiful crescendo.

Death Cab are always a great live band to watch as all three members remain animated throughout, Ben barely stands still as he dancing even before the next track begins. Another reason why a Death Cab show is one to watch is their ever changing set list, each night is different from the last and the band aren’t ones for just playing the singles, they play a variety of tracks from their extensive back catalogue. The set leans on tracks from the new album and the album Plans, which turned 10 this year and was probably the breakthrough LP for the band here in the UK. The songs off the new album do sound really great tonight, opening track ‘No Room Fits Frame’ is a lovely opener with its gracious build and proud piano hook, and ‘Ghost Of Beverley Drive’ is a well crafted and a pretty danceable slice of indie pop that seems to get heads bobbing.

Of course, there are plenty of pretty moments in the set tonight and these guys are the kings of making melodies that tug at your heat strings. ‘I Will Follow You Into The Dark’  from Plans is a lovely moment with just Ben and an acoustic guitar as the whole crowd sings this gentle love song back to him. And ‘What Sarah Said’ from the same album is a particularly heart swelling moment with another earworm piano hook that swirls around over Ben’s gut wrenching lyrics.The band end their main set of ‘Bixby Canyon Bridge’ probably one of the most progressive tracks they’ve done, ending with fuzzy guitar riffs and an hypnotic groove which is such an awesome way to end the set before their gracious encore. Although for a lot of fans this show would of been a make or break moment for them with it being a new line up and different dynamic but tonight Death Cab For Cutie there is a still a strong force of performers and musicians and this has excited me to see what they’ll come up with next.

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Benjamin Forrester

I joined the Silent Radio family near the very start of my move to Manchester in 2012 and I'm still having the best time! During my stay here I've been in two noisy bands, had a not so noisy solo project, made a zine, started a blog and started a radio show. It's been productive to say the least and it's all been intersperse with a shit load of gig going and beer drinking. I would love it if you followed me on twitter @dr_brainless for excitable tweets about playing, watching and living new music.