Arriving at Shepherd’s Bush Empire for the third and final night of Death Cab For Cutie’s stint in this intimate London venue, I genuinely didn’t know what to expect. In truth, they’re a band I never really expected to see live so this night is an intriguing prospect. The basis of this tour is to promote their 8th album ‘Kintsugi’ and as expected that record supplies a number of tracks to the set list. This is a very positive thing as the new album is fully of classy, mid tempo tracks that make for perfect live performances at this type of gig. There’s no real typecast of person here tonight, a real mixture of ages and backgrounds and no doubt many different ways in which each fan discovered the band. This is testament to how DCFC have matured as a band from quirky emo rockers to a grown ass guitar group that everyone can appreciate and relate to.
At the heart of everything here tonight is Ben Gibbard’s astounding voice. It’s always been an instrument of intrigue and it certainly remains a ‘love it or hate it’ type of voice. But if you love it on record, it doesn’t compare to how awesome it sounds live. I was so impressed, he sounded fantastic throughout, dominating every track from beginning to end. As for the musicianship, these guys are a quality band and they sound like a tight knit unit for the duration of the gig with impressive solos thrown in to really emphasise the capabilities of each individual musician. It was such a strong set of songs that lasted nearly 2 hours, each moment and each track has its merits but there were two highlights that really stuck with me; ‘I Will Possess Your Heart’ was truly remarkable, the instrumental build up is a wonderful thing on record but live it was taken to another level and the tension that it built was electric, it was superb.
The moment that made my night and probably everyone’s was ‘I Will Follow You Into The Dark’. It is one of the greatest songs of all time and tonight it provided the one singalong moment that made the hairs on the back of your neck stand up. Just Ben Gibbard and his acoustic guitar showing us why this group remain such a popular and much loved band. It was a truly stunning evening.
Review by Toby Clayton |