Death Cab For Cutie are a marmite band. They either seem to tear into your chest and seize your heart, keeping a firm grip on it for years to come, or their melancholic songs go the opposite way and lose you from the get go. I, like many, found Transatlanticism and fell for its irresistible charm, and whilst I never invested as much time in any further album, I found myself firmly within the pro DCFC camp.
2015 marked the band's 18th year together, saw the release of their eighth studio album Kintsugi, and also the departure of founding member Chris Walla. His talents can still be heard on the record, but he'd long since left by the time I saw the band live.
I was eager for the show, but didn't exactly know what to expect from the band in a live format. It seemed as if other may have the same reservations as it took over an hour for the audience to warm up, and surprisingly so, as the band was in fine voice but the crowd simply wasn't. I'm hardly a prolific dancer, but it seemed as if my surroundings were completely adverse to the medium of movement, instead still and silent in their appreciation for the act onstage. It was more an observation than the celebration of a beloved band that I was expecting.
Showcasing Kintsugi tracks early on, they quickly blazed through 'Black Sun', 'No Room In Frame', 'Little Wanderer' and 'The Ghosts Of Beverly Drive', all strong singles. Launching into classics such as 'What Sarah Said', vocalist Ben Gibbard performed a moving solo rendition by of 'I Will Follow You Into The Dark' before upping the pace with 'Cath' from Narrow Stairs and their sole number one Alternative hit 'You Are A Tourist'.
While the lyrics and Gibbard's vocals remain sickly sweet, they maintain a genuine sense of honesty that other bands of this ilk lack, or perhaps lost over the strenuous years of their existence.
On stage for just shy of two hours, the band put on a fine show, showcasing material from a sterling career, and despite losing an integral part of the puzzle, the image remained and the individual pieces certainly didn't look out of place.
Before leaving the stage for the first time, Death Cab closed the initial set with the 8 minute 'I Will Possess Your Heart'. Touting a great intro and undeniable groove, the song also boasts some of the creepiest and most questionable lyrics, which made me feel rather guilty for singing along to.
They returned for a four song encore, capping the night with the beautiful 'Transatlanticism', the title track from what is arguably their magnum opus, I finally found the celebration I was looking for. As I walked to the back of the venue to retrieve my coat, I saw a woman wiping a tear from her eye, and I fully understood the feeling.