Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Stars + Death Cab For Cutie / 9:30 Club , DC / Oct 24

Pre Game Show: Rain and cold.

The show part 1: Stars

In Canada 6 members are the new power trio.

Seriously why does it take 6 members to sound more like a three piece?

I like the Sundays. I like The Wedding Present. I like the Smiths. I even like the Stars okay on record but live... not so much. There was a lot of PERSONALITY happening on stage all at once, almost too much. Imagine 4 people all trying to piss on the same fire hydrant to prove it’s their territory and two people standing more like bookends that occasionally hand gesture or bend at the knees. If they were age 12 – 16 I could imagine them being an awkward but cuddly house band on Nickelodeon. This might also be why the young Death Cab crowd also seemed to adore the Stars antics and music.

Thanking the audience often + saying your hometown, their hometown, the headliner’s band name or the state the venue resides in will gain wild applause each and every time.

Either the moniters on stage were giving them trouble, the sound man was sleeping on the job or the band doesn’t have great pitch and timing live.

Headlining band LOVING opening band coupled with opening band LOVING headlining band = a love fest on stage and that posi-connection is transferred to the audience. Everybody wins.

The show part 2: Death Cab For Cutie:

I have never seen bartenders looking so bored. Death Cab fans are not the drinking type and for the most part totally not old enough to imbibe.

The lighting crew for Death Cab need to reconsider the par can positions. Either Ben sweats A LOT or every time he sits at the keyboard the light behind him is slowly cooking him. I’ve been going to shows for 20 years and I have never seen a band member so drenched in sweat. The poor man looked like he had gone swimming.

Looking down from the balcony the sea of ignited cell phones looked a little something like massive fireflies hovering over the heads of the crowd.

Kudos to the 20 something year old dude with a well trimmed beard and smoking a pipe. Way to work the school teacher angle. You win.

Clove cigarettes are never a good idea, no less is public places where strangers will point and laugh at you for smoking them.

Here is the set list:

Marching Bands of Manhattan, We Laugh Indoors, The New Year, Title and Registration, Soul Meets Body, Summer Skin, Photobooth, President of What?, Crooked Teeth, Different Names for the Same Thing, A Movie Script Ending, Company Calls, Company Calls Epilogue, What Sarah Said, We Looked Like Giants, The Sound of Settling

Encore: I Will Follow You Into the Dark, 405, Prove My Hypotheses

You can listen to the show which was broadcasted live on NPR here.

Senators have VIP pull at the 9:30 club so their staff who don’t know the bands playing there but were looking for something do that night suddenly had something “cool” to do. (This was in fact a conversation happening next to me in the VIP section) When Senator's assts. weren’t doing shots and talking loudly over the music they were busy texting on their BlackBerrys. They did scream some clever comments showing interest and support for the drum techs and guitar techs but the show itself must have not been as captivating because they left about 4 songs in. I don't have friends in political circles so maybe they have to go be at work the next day at some ungodly hour. Does the goverment sleep? Wait, don't answer that.

Jason McGerr who looks like a little like Rob Corddry from the Daily Show plays like a drum machine with soul. Reliable, steady, and unbelievably just right. I am talking the kind of tasteful reserved drummering style typically found in a compact jazz ensemble. He wins best player on the stage all night.

Show highlight was the addition of Ben on a tiny jazz drum kit call and responding to Jason at the end of "We Looked Like Giants"

I have never seen a terrible Death Cab show. They charm the crowd, are sloppy in a way that always works for them and it’s as if their mistakes make the audience love them that much more. The less perfect they are the more the guy next door they become . Not only are they the kind of band you could take home to your liberal parents house for Thanksgiving but are so painfully down to earth that hating them feels like a crime.

One the flipside I have never seen a Death Cab show that has transformed me into a mega-fan. They just make me miss the early days of Built To Spill whose live shows always moved me deeply. Death Cab is the new puppy that will never quite replace my old one. I know I know, no two loves will ever be the same.

Tequila back stage is always a good idea.

Post show wrap up: More rain. More cold. An introduction to high winds.

ps: Don’t get your hopes up for a new Postal Service record any time soon. If it happens at all it doesn’t look like it will be 2006. Besides Jimmy T from PS needs to finish his DNTEL new release which doesn’t look like it will see the light of day until next year. I will post more about that later.