TAXI TO THE DARK SIDE: Death Cab For Cutie, House Of Blues, Atlantic City, Last Night
1. Death Cab for Cutie invited the ever-charming St Vincent to open the show, and she succeeded in charming the very skinny pants off the entire skinny pants collective that was the crowd. Smart pickin’s by the Seattle quartet!
2. Death Cab for Cutie’s latest record, Narrow Stairs, translates exceptionally to the stage–something 2005’s painfully boring “Plans” cannot say. The upbeat new single “No Sunshine” and “Long Division,” along with the full ten-minute version of “I Will Possess Your Heart,” were standouts of the evening–a status newer Cab material hasn’t achieved in a while.
3. Death Cab for Cutie are masters of multi-instrumentation! Watch frontman Ben Gibbard and guitarist Chris Walla as they take turns hurling their guitars offstage mid-song to switch to the keys. Well played, gentlemen, but it’ll take legitimate juggling to impress this reviewer.
4. Death Cab for Cutie are capable of being politically persuasive without being in-your-face! Aside from a quick “register to vote” plug by Walla at the end of the show, the only endorsements came in the form of a small-yet-effective “O” sticker on Gibbard’s Telecaster and a pleasantly large handful of songs from 2000’s We Have the Facts and We’re Voting Yes. Very Tactful.
5. Death Cab for Cutie haven’t alienated their older fans! In probably the most welcome surprise of the evening, Gibbard and the gang’s setlist drew mostly from the earlier half of their catalogue, even dipping back to the ’97 classic “Champagne From a Paper Cup.” Though the obligatory “I Will Follow You Into The Dark” was thrown in for the less initiated, it was nice to hear Facts‘ “The Employment Pages,” a cut that made it to my early teenage mixtapes for would-be Semiformal dates.
TEXT & PHOTOS BY MICHAEL DONOVAN