Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Death Cab for Cutie Returns to the Ryman

By Erin Carson | Created with

When Ben Gibbard took the stage of the Ryman Auditorium and immediately launched into "I Will Follow You Into the Dark," we knew to expect a different kind of Death Cab for Cutie show. Gibbard played the popular song, which typically surfaces late-show in acoustic form, without his bandmates and without most of its usual moodiness. The performance set the tone for a concert that, while pulling songs from all their albums, leaned mostly on older tunes and deeper cuts, with a very light smattering of the year-old Codes and Keys.

For anyone who caught Death Cab's 2009 Ryman appearance, last night's show felt like a completion. Instead of go-tos like "The Sound of Settling" or an epic rendition of "Transatlanticism," we got "Technicolor Girls," "Amputations," and "Lowell, MA." That's not to say the band ignored favorites– nothing sounded as sweet as the entire Ryman erupting in "ba da"'s for "Soul Meets Body," but the show had a different type of depth to it.

And Death Cab pulled off that deep cut-heavy set list thanks in part to an unusually warm and responsive Nashville crowd. When the band turned "We Looked like Giants" into the extended, momentous, tightly-played masterpiece of the night, the crowd stayed with them every second, and even threatened to out sing Gibbard on songs like "Marching Bands of Manhattan."

It felt good to be at the Ryman last night. When Death Cab took finals bows, there was a rare sincerity between them and the audience. If they were happy to be there, the crowd was happy to have them.

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