reCAP :: Death Cab For Cutie w/ Hamilton Leathauser :: 2014.05.22
When they broke through to the mainstream some ten-plus years ago after a string of indie successes, journalists threw genres at Deathcab For Cutie like insults are thrown over social media toward Justin Bieber. They were indie rock or indie pop or “whiny” alt-rockers or even worse - emo – a term that carries with it some sort of Scarlett-four-letter word. But, throwing labels in music has and always will be meaningless and this Washington band, led by Ben Gibbard, has simply made wonderful, deeply felt melodic rock since the minute they were birthed. On May 22, DCFC played and slayed The Capitol Theatre, performing some 20-tracks over an hour-and-a-half plus set to a sold-out crowd that surprisingly ranged in age from Twilight Saga to those a decade or two shy of their twilight years.
Speaking of which, the constant interaction between the crowd and Gibbard was the biggest takeaway from the night aside from the band sonically never sounding better. The frontman, who appeared svelte and infectiously joyous all night, constantly thanked the audience for their patience in waiting so long for new material (their last album Codes and Keys came out in 2011 and a Postal Service reunion took the band into hiatus for a bit), and fed off their energy after each track. Heck, that rapport was established the second the band hit the stage and the first chords and keys of opener “I Will Possess Your Heart” were played. What followed was a constant give and take between the performers and the fans all night. It went something like this: the crowd sang almost every lyric and epically cheered before, during, and after each song with Gibbard responding with humorous banter, and deep appreciation. He even felt comfortable enough to tell us all how lucky we were to have such a luminous venue as The Cap in their backyard and how lucky they were to play it. And, again, they played the hell out of it.
While the setlist was heavy on Codes and Keys tracks, the band still found time to perform hits ("You Are a Tourist;" "Crooked Teeth) and deep cuts (tracks from We Have the Facts and We're Voting Yes!) off their discography. Highlights included “Title and Registration” and the show ender “The Sound of Settling” off their groundbreaking 2003 Transatlanticism LP and - a personal favorite- “Your Heart is an Empty Room” off of Plans. That song was the antithesis of what we all felt the other night: our hearts were beating fast at The Cap. How lucky we are indeed.