Review / Death Cab for Cutie @ O2 Academy

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By Ellen Kinsey, Fourth year, Film and French

'Despite being oldies to the industry the energy was still sustained', Ellen Kinsey reviews Death Cab for Cutie at Bristol's O2.

When mentioning the name of the band Death Cab for Cutie, I always receive a mixed response. Is it heavy rock? Is it indie-folk? After 20 years in the industry this band have continued to change and evolve their sound. The mélange of emotive vocals and lyrics in juxtaposition with a strong guitar production that contrasts their yearning sound; always pining after love or success.

The first time I heard of them was their record Transatlanticism, an album perfect for teenage crushes and background music to a snowy day. That night Bristol had its first sign of snow as I exited the O2 academy venue, making the experience complete and sending me back to my adolescent years.

Their live show focused more on their newest album Thank You for Today and had adifferent sound to 2003's Transatlanticism that I was so familiar with. Death Cab, fronted by Ben Gibbard, aged 41, freakishly looking no older than 21 in his skinny-jeans and flippy hair, started with 'I Dreamt We Spoke Again' and 'Summer Years'. Death Cab had managed to maintain its popularity with the combination of lead guitarist Chris Walla’s production that gives an extra kick to Gibbard’s vocals and storytelling.

Amid Walla leaving the band in 2014 and being replaced by two other members, Death Cab retains their brooding identity and moody melodies; however, the sound has definitely transformed to more radio-friendly, slicker, alternative-rock.

The rest of the show consisted of songs making up their new album, interjected with other career-spanning hits such as 'Title & Registration' and 'I Will Possess Your Heart', and new hits such as 'Gold Rush' and 'Northern Lights'.

Despite being oldies to the industry the energy was still sustained, presented by interludes of guitar rifts which led to Gibbard swinging his guitar over his head. The band finished with a Death Cab classic, 'Soul Meets Body'. The introduction to me always seems to mimic the melodic sound of falling snow and the crowd were singing just as passionately to the lovelorn lyrics.

Of course, in an uproar of ‘one more song’ and ‘encore!’ Gibbard returned to the stage alone to sing their most popular track, 'I Will Follow You into the Dark’ the simple love song stripped back from guitar rifts and percussion. He serenaded the crowd and everybody serenaded back. Ending with the grandest, lengthiest and most melodramatic track, 'Transatlantiscism' starts off soft and builds up to a crescendo of sentiment and packs an emotional punch; a perfect and fulfilling ending to their show.

Featured Image: Death Cab for Cutie/ Atlantic Records


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