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Topic: Ben Gibbard
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November 11, 2013 at 12:35 AM
Barsuk Records likely wouldn’t have made it to its 15th anniversary, celebrated last week with five shows in four days, if not for Benjamin Gibbard and his seminal band Death Cab For Cutie.
So it makes sense that early on at Sunday night’s show at the Tractor featuring Jesse Sykes and the Sweet Hereafter people were starting to ask: “Do you think Ben Gibbard is going to play?” He had been seen around the club and Barsuk had promised “special guests” for the penultimate show in their birthday bash.
Gibbard didn’t disappoint and came on just before 9 p.m., looking sharp and svelte in a black shirt and dark jeans. He started his short solo acoustic set off with a joke — “Hi, I’m Gordon Reynolds,” which got a big laugh — and “Oh, Woe,” off his 2012 solo album “Former Lives.” Gibbard has been busy this week (Death Cab was the “special guest” at Thursday’s Showbox at the Market anniversary show) but he seemed happy for another chance to thank Seattle’s upstart label. (more…)
August 30, 2013 at 9:42 AM
By Hannah Leone
“Transatlanticism” has pretty cool parents, so it’s no surprise candle that its 10th birthday party is a series of concerts during which they play the album in its entirety.
Pacific Northwest indie-rock bigs Death Cab for Cutie, conceived at Bellingham’s Western Washington University in 1997, will play the 11-track record on the Bumbershoot Mainstage Sunday. The band’s fourth album, “Transatlanticism” is perhaps its mellowest and moodiest, revolving around the struggles of a long-distance relationship. With impeccably detailed and situationally-specific lyrics, it’s a true testament to Ben Gibbard’s songwriting prowess.
Each number emanates a relatable nostalgia. The first words on the album are, “So this is the new year. And I don’t feel any different.” The last: “This is fact not fiction. For the first time in years.” “Transatlanticisim” — which deserves to be listened to all at once, in order and experienced live — is sure to take fans on a musical journey through moments and relationships past.
Death Cab for Cutie plays “Transatlanticism” at 9:45 p.m. Sunday at the Bumbershoot Mainstage.
July 19, 2013 at 2:20 PM
In a colliding of musical worlds, New Orleans bounce rapper Big Freedia opened for The Postal Service Thursday night at the KeyArena.
Which meant The Postal Service, locally beloved band specializing in the pop subgenre “twee” (the meekest of all subgenres), was preceded by Freedia rapping call-and-response about the joys of performing oral sex on men (Freedia is a gay man who prefers female pronouns while performing), and three lady dancers twerking hard (Google it). (more…)
May 28, 2013 at 12:19 PM
by Joseph Sutton-Holcomb
“Ladies and gentleman, we are back from the dead.” That was the only introduction Ben Gibbard gave Monday night after The Postal Service played, “The District Sleeps Alone Tonight,” the first song of the last set of the festival.
Those nine words captured the sentiment of the evening perfectly. For longtime fans like me, the concert provided much-needed closure. 2013 was the 10-year anniversary of the band’s first and only album “Give Up,” and after nearly a decade of hiatus and unsubstantiated rumors about a second album that never materialized, I had given up hope of ever seeing them perform. That album meant everything to me during my teenage years, but I always thought of The Postal Service as an abandoned side project, and relegated it to the past.
But Gibbard and his band breathed new life into every track, helping me remember that sometimes the music you obsess over as a kid doesn’t always suck in retrospect.
Most impressive was how the band revamped their sound to suit the contemporary electronica-soaked music culture. The bass was spectacularly rich on every song, much more so than the album versions and they added interesting new synth lines to almost every track. The result was crisp and substantial, eschewing the chiptune vibe that defined the recorded sound.
Jenny Lewis, who sang the female backing vocals that gave several of the cuts on ”Give Up” a country-style duet quality, also performed. Hearing her and Gibbard trade verses on ”Nothing Better” was immensely satisfying. Great musical chemistry there.
After seeing Gibbard’s other band, Death Cab For Cutie, perform at festivals a handful of times, I never thought the word intense would describe any of his musical endeavors. But the band brought so much energy to cuts like ”This Place is a Prison” and the finale, “Brand New Colony,” that I couldn’t keep my head from bobbing. Definitely the most effort I’ve seen Gibbard give to a show.
The lights were the cherry on top, and probably the best stage production of the weekend, rivaled only by Sigur Ros the night before. A set of LED columns behind the band bathed the stage, the pit, and the hillside in vivid red, blue, green and purple strobing.
I walked over to the stage that night expecting a pleasant trip into the past. What I got was a forward-thinking show that made me long for another Postal Service Album all over again.
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