Death Cab For Cutie cruised through for a show at Houston’s Revention Center the evening of Wednesday, April 3rd, and the weather decided to help set the mood. The temp dropped a few degrees and some light rain sprinkled the night, urging fans inside the venue. Unlike many bands, not too many waited outside for doors to rush the barricade. Even 20 minutes after 7:00pm, there were less than 50 at barricade. The people were loosely packed, making it easy to reach the front. After a lively performance by My Brightest Diamond, fans waited eagerly until the house lights went down. They finally faded to black at nine, and Death Cab For Cutie took the stage.
The veteran band is touring in support of their ninth studio album, Thank You For Today, released 20 years after their 1998 debut, Something About Airplanes. They opened their set accordingly, starting with three songs off their newest album. The artists proceeded to properly introduce themselves, then launched into a rendition of “Long Division.” The audience livened up a bit at the first chords of “Title and Registration,” a fan favorite. The band continued with the same energy, with Ben Gibbard, Zac Rae, and Dave Depper switching between instruments as they cruised through their early repertoire.
Surprisingly, the crowd didn’t get too energized. They barely even swayed during the upbeat “No Sunlight.” A quick look around showed Death Cab’s core fanbase to be in their mid 30’s to early 40’s. And yet, a few outliers stood out in the crowd. Every now and then, there’d be someone ten years younger doing their best to dance in place. The braver ones shouted responses to Gibbard’s questions between songs. Essentially, the youth did their best to match the band’s energy.
A wave of magic seemed to take the people at the start of “I Will Possess Your Heart.” This uptick in energy was maintained by other hits. A gasp of recognition arose during “Black Sun.” Yet it was clear it would take more than that to get this crowd hyped. “Cath…” did the trick. For what seemed like the first time that night, people began to raise their voices to sing along. By the time “Soul Meets Body” played, people really started to shed of their inhibitions. They sang and bounced in place, clapping furiously as the band exited the stage.
After a short interval, a single spotlight shone down onto the stage, and Ben Gibbard stepped into it. He was alone, accompanied only by an acoustic guitar. A silence fell over the crowd; they all knew what was going to happen next. “I Will Follow You Into The Dark,” the band’s most popular song, cast a spell over the Houstonians in attendance. There wasn’t a soul present that didn’t join in the song. The conclusion left everyone breathless, amazed at the collective experience. The same magic carried them on though the rest of the encore, concluding with a beautiful rendition of “Transatlanticism,” the band’s crowning achievement. After thanking their fans, the band excited for the final time. The crowd followed suit, clearing out in record time, jumping back into their regular lives as if nothing had transpired.
Looking back into past Houston performances, Death Cab For Cutie seems to attract a relatively chill crowd. The band presents great energy on stage, moving with passion during each and every song. Although the fans might not always reflect the same energy as that on stage, the love for Death Cab is clearly there. Otherwise, how would they still be selling out venues 20 years into their career?