by Josh Bis
on Sun, Nov 18, 2012 at 2:11 PM
Winding down his U.S. solo tour for a sold out hometown crowd, Death Cab for Cutie frontman Ben Gibbard played to a (mostly) reverently attentive crowd Friday night at the Showbox. In his words, it was a "coffee shop vibe with a rockshow audience" that remained so silent between songs that he could, for the first time, hear the gentle flushing of toilets in the men's bathroom from the stage's cozy singer-songwriter setup (rug, steaming cup of tea, music stand).
This is not to say that the audience wasn't vocally appreciative upon recognition of favorite songs. The main set was bookended by Postal Service hits: opener "Such Great Heights" and closer "The District Sleeps Alone Tonight" elicited squeals of delight. Though I wouldn't have minded a special surprise guest appearance (perhaps Jimmy Tamborello could've been Skyped in?), Gibbard was more than capable of carrying the show on the merits of just his own voice and either acoustic guitar or upright piano to a room filled with so many scarves, caps, and sweaters. Because I didn't really follow Death Cab for Cutie into the dark and haven't dug into this year's solo album, about half the songs weren't super familiar to me. Along with DCFC staples, there was an ode to the Smith Tower accompanied by a pledge about never leaving again, a beatboxed explosion symbolizing a certain lack of box office success for Arthur remake soundtrack entry "When the Sun Goes Down," and a special bonus for-northwest-shows-only cover of Screaming Trees's "Bed of Roses." The show ended with an encore grab bag—"A Lack of Color" from Transatlanticism, upbeat/sad juxtapositing "Hard One to Know" from Former Lives, recently repurposed Dell-selling (and personal favorite) "You Remind Me of Home" from the 2007 Andrew Keny split EP, and then the mysteriously-adored "I Will Follow You Into the Dark" to send everyone off, satisfied by a chillaxy show, into the still early evening.