CONCERT REVIEW: Postal Service @ The Mann


Very few groups could make one album then take a decade off and have a devoted audience still waiting for them, The Postal Service is one of them — in fact, probably the only one. The side project of Death Cab For Cutie’s Ben Gibbard  and producer Jimmy Tamborello (Dntel), The Postal Service made only one album, 2003’s Give Up, and played a brief tour before the duo returned to their regular jobs. Give Up brought electronic music to a new generation of fans and transplanting heart into what is often a soulless and nihilistic genre of music. The group is back together, celebrating the tenth anniversary of their album with a couple of new songs and a tour with indie chanteuse Jenny Lewis reprising her role from the album and original tour as the third member of the group. Monday night at The Mann they played 16 songs for an adoring packed house as a kaleidoscopic light show swirled around them. They kicked things off with a hymn-like “The District Sleeps Alone Tonight” and followed that with a loose, rocking “We Will Become Silhouettes” that drew from the Shin’s reinvention of the song. The group was set up on stage in a triangle, with Tamburello in the back triggering beats and samples and laying the foundation for the music, Lewis singing behind a bank of keyboards and Gibbard delivering his haiku lyrics while alternating between guitar and bashing a set of drums off to the right side of the stage. One surprise was a groovy cover of Beat Happenings “Our Secret” that featured Lewis pounding out a primal beat on drums and Gibbard playing a slashing guitar solo. New songs “Turn Around” and the bouncing “Tattered Line of String” didn’t disappoint, sounding like classic Postal Service and keeping the attention of the crowd which hung on every note and never left their seats during the eighty minute set. The song everyone was waiting for arrived late in the set, “Such Great Heights,” a song Gibbard was quoted as saying is the only positive song he ever wrote about love. Monday night the band took the crowd on a soaring swooping ride through the joys of love for four minutes of electronic pop bliss that closed out their set. They returned for a two song encore: “(This is) The Dream of Evan and Chan,” i.e. the first song Gibbard and Tamborello ever collaborated on, and “Brand New Colony.” The latter found Gibbard and Lewis strolling to the center of the stage, mics in hand Johnny- and-June style, exhorting the crowd and leading them in a joyous sing along of a song about being there for each other and making a new and better world. Amen to that. — PETE TROSHAK