Tell someone that you are going to a Death Cab For Cutie show and the most likely response will be, “I’ll bet that’ll be depressing.” On the contrary, the crowd at the first of two sold-out nights at The Moody Theater in Austin couldn’t have been more upbeat and energetic. Ben Gibbard and co. are currently touring in support of their latest album, Kintsugi, and this is the first tour since the departure of founding guitarist Chris Walla. Though Walla’s presence in the group and on stage charisma will be missed, the addition of two new touring guitarists filled in the absence quite nicely.
As the lights dimmed and the crowd roared in anticipation, the now five-piece band took the stage and launched into “No Room In Frame” off their latest album. Though the enthusiasm of the audience did not diminish much for new songs like “Black Sun” and “The Ghosts of Beverly Drive”, it was nothing compared to the fervor generated by songs from their back catalog. The music was positively drowned out as the opening chords to “The New Year”’ were struck. Songs from platinum certified Plans unsurprisingly garnered the most energy from the crowd. Songs like their breakout hits “Soul Meets Body” and “I’ll Follow You Into The Dark” had everyone in the theater singing along (and shouting their approval after every verse). Every album was represented, even the original demo album You Can Play These Songs With Chords saw “Pictures in an Exhibition” performed. It was easy to see that the band was having a great time as well. The intro to “I Will Possess Your Heart” was a five minute jam that the band probably enjoyed more than the audience. The four song encore was made up solely of older songs with “Marching Bands of Manhattan” and “Transalanticism” proving to be the highlights and closers for the evening.
Having cemented their legacy in the early 2000s as one of the giants of the indie wave, Death Cab proved that they are still one of the most creative and endearing bands in that scene. The concert was over two hours long with twenty-four songs played over the course of the night. Ben Gibbard ascribed his energy for the night was the bubbly mineral water Topo Chico, a favorite of Austinites. Though many of Gibbard’s songs have “depressing” undertones, thanks to the energy of the band and audience, it would be safe to say the night was far from depressing for anyone.