Lovers Lane
Copernicus Center

Death Cab For Cutie live!

| May 25, 2011

Somewhere over the course of the last decade, Death Cab For Cutie went from college-radio regulars to darlings of “The O.C.” and headlining Lollapalooza. The band are far from the indie upstart they once were, both in terms of exposure and delivery, with venue stops in recent years reflecting that. All of which made Friday night’s show at the Metro more personal and uncommon for this point in the group’s career.

Touching down in Chicago in advance of the forthcoming Codes And Keys (Atlantic), Death Cab performed a set that visited the various stages of their career, from “Photobooth” off 2000’s The Forbidden Love EP to the immediate and mature Keys cut “Underneath The Sycamore.” In fact, the band offered a fair amount of preview from their upcoming effort, with the sonically spacious “Some Boys” providing an infectious kinetic energy, while “Doors Unlocked And Open” proved driving and direct. Both live and on record, Codes And Keys is a far livelier and more engaging experience than Death Cab’s previous two studio efforts, 2005’s Plans and 2008’s Narrow Stairs. Both of the latter were, however, represented, through a full-band version of “Soul Meets Body” featuring frontman Ben Gibbard on acoustic guitar, and an “I Will Possess Your Heart” that sported more life live than on record, respectively.

As the band wound down their set with encore selections, the focus shifted to earlier albums. In 2011, “Title And Registration” has been elevated beyond its initial melancholia, while “A Movie Script Ending” remained true to its sing-songy roots. Closing out, the group delivered a sparse, keyboard-based version of the steadily building title cut off 2002’s Transatlanticism that became increasingly triumphant in its majestically melancholy ambitions. And while the days of Death Cab dealing almost solely in sorrow and playing comparably more intimate rooms like the Metro are more or less over, it was nice of them to visit.

— Jaime de’Medici


Category: Featured, Live Reviews, Weekly

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