Death Cab For Cutie @ Birmingham Academy – 15th July 2008


Having missed the Belgian indie/electronica of Styrofoam I’ll move straight into Death Cab For Cutie. With the release of Narrow Stairs, Death Cab seem to be coming back with a little more vim and vigour than we’re used to, whilst retaining that distinctive sound they’ve lovingly crafted, honed and polished and we all know to be theirs.


The set started strong with Narrow Stairs opener ‘Bixby Canyon Bridge’ followed by ‘The New Year’, but after a few lesser known songs from The Photo Album and Plans it seemed like they’d quickly lost the crowd’s attention and the atmosphere changed to something more like a party with Death Cab on the CD player rather than the stage.

However, relief came halfway though the set in the form of ‘Soul Meets Body’, the first sing-along of the night, and captured the room’s collective gaze and attention once again before hushing everyone for ‘I Will Follow You Into The Dark.’ The transcendental debut single off Narrow Stairs, ‘I Will Possess Your Heart’, came with the full five minute intro and was followed by the strutting yet quietly ornate ‘Cath’.


The encore included the obligatory ‘Title and Registration’ and cheers erupted as soon as the pattering intro to Transatlanticism could be heard – an aptly poignant farewell for the evening, and as Ben leaves the stage he shouts: “I don’t care what you say, this city is fuckin’ beautiful.”

One of the most impressive points of the gig was the clarity of the sound. A lot of bands suffer muddy vocals as they struggle to compete with loud guitars and louder drum kits, or in some cases, singers just can’t hold their own in a live setting. This is not the case with Death Cab For Cutie, you could close your eyes and it would pretty much sound as it does on CD, if a little more animated.

To summarise, I’d say this was a night to savour.


Review – Ash Carter
Photos – Steve Gerrard

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