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Monday, May 26, 2008

Owning the Main Stage

posted by on May 26 at 13:44 PM

Death CabPhoto by Sean Pecknold

All the teenagers sitting around me on the hill sang along to the Death Cab singles. As someone who used to see Death Cab when I was in high school, back when they were playing the old Paradox and the like, it’s still a bit baffling to see them adored by such a massive crowd. When they played Sasquatch! a few years ago their songs didn’t seem to translate well from small club to amphitheater - their star seemed to be rising faster than their sound could keep up. The material off Narrow Stairs, as well as the few older cuts they’ve kept in their set, have no such problems anymore. “Long Division” was written to be performed in front of thousands, the intro jam to “I Will Possess Your Heart” builds a great tension that isn’t released until the final bridge. I didn’t want to hear their old songs - the context wouldn’t be right anymore in a setting like the Gorge. Opposite of when the Cure was playing, all I wanted to hear was their new material. Death Cab is a stadium band now, a festival band, and sometime between last time they played the Gorge they figured out how to own the attention of a huge crowd.

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Saw 'em this weekend in Bend, Oregon, and I agree 100 percent. They look and sound gigantic. It's an incredible thing to see, particularly if you remember them playing indie-pop at a club that holds 200 people.

Posted by tebow | May 26, 2008 2:33 PM

i think a lot of 206/425 people have that experience of "hey i used to see this band for nothing and now they're huge" when it comes to death cab. i wonder when that kind of meteoric rise will happen again to a NW act.

i listened to but haven't bought their new album yet. i think it's good, better than i thought it'd be, and i will buy it.

there was a time in my life when i got a job stacking chairs at a venue in spokane specifically so i could get a free death cab ticket (couldn't afford the $10) and help them load stuff on from their bus to the stage. what a nerd i was.

a few months later, nick harmer was my first interview ever when i was writing for a failing weekly for no pay in college. i was nervous and he was gracious.

i talk shit about death cab a lot because i think i've earned the right after years of loyal patronage, but SRSLY they are handling success incredibly well and i'm proud of them.

Posted by ndrwmtsn | May 26, 2008 7:31 PM

Spot-on comment @2.

I have the old Death Cab cassettes (on Elsinore), all the old 7"s, listened to "Airplanes" before "Facts" came out, etc., etc. And while those dudes aren't anywhere close to my favorite band anymore, they're still making pretty good records and lots of money doing it.

They get huge respect from me. I'm proud of them, too.

Posted by tebow | May 26, 2008 9:49 PM

Oh my God, are people still talking about how cool it was to see Death Cab when they were a small band? Christ, those cred grabs went stale two years ago. Get over it.

Posted by Nick | May 27, 2008 7:52 AM

Nick = dipshit

Posted by franky | May 27, 2008 10:23 AM

@ 4 - you suck!

Andrew, was that the show at Fat Tuesdays? That was a fucking amazing show and still ranks in the top 3 of the best shows i've ever seen in my life. That was the first time i'd heard the song "transatlanticism"
...and they did "all is full of love" as their encore...Lots and lots of goosebumps. Man, i'm feeling all 2003 right now.

College was awesome and Death Cab has forever defined that time for me.

I understand the flaws that others point out with Death Cab, but I just don't care. I used to be ashamed to admit to some people that I like them, but dammit, they're still one of my favorite bands. I thought they killed it at Sasquatch, but they need to stop playing that fucking "i'll follow you into the dark" song, as well as that "i'll follow you around for 8 minutes" song too, arghhh!!!

Posted by E | May 28, 2008 5:59 PM

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