Death Cab for Cutie
The Crocodile, Seattle, WA

As opener Eric Elbogen of Say Hi put it, “Give yourselves a hand for getting tickets for tonight. There are a lot of angry people on the internet right now.” In preparation for the release of their eighth studio album, Kintsugi, Seattle darlings Death Cab For Cutie graced the stage of The Crocodile Tuesday night for a surprise show that sold out in a literal split-second. Those who gained entrance were rewarded with a worthwhile dive into the band’s deep catalogue of hits as well as three tracks from the forthcoming album. Though The Crocodile may seem like an odd choice for a band that has sold out much larger venues, but as Ben Gibbard explained, the original Crocodile Café is where they sold out their first show back in 1998, setting the tone for an evening of nostalgia. The group’s three remaining founding members (after last year’s Chris Walla departure) were joined by two touring musicians, Dave Depper on guitar and Zac Rae on keys, and the group seemed cohesive if not for a few minor botches and sweat-related equipment malfunctions.

Despite the small hiccups, which were met with endearing self-deprecation from the band, overall they sounded thoroughly on-point. Starting out the night with the rollicking “I Will Possess Your Heart” from 2008’s Narrow Stairs, they immediately hooked the audience and showcased the explosive instrumentals and tragically heartfelt lyrics that have made so many of us committed fans. While they traversed their set list, it felt like everything was hinged on whether or not the new songs would evoke the same reception, but the crowd seemed to embrace the slightly edgier, synth-ladled sound with open arms. This evolution comes after 2011’s not-so-well-received Codes and Keys, and feels less like a departure for the band than an evolution that brings them up to speed after almost two decades of indie-pop serenading.

One particular highlight of the night was a solo Gibbard for “I Will Follow You into the Dark” which he played acoustic and sang with as much trademark vulnerability as ever, though he really didn’t need to since every member of the audience clearly knew all the words. That was essentially the trend for the evening, in a crowd seemingly filled with diehard followers in such an intimate venue. Looking ahead to the release of the new album, which drops March 31, it seems like folks are more than willing to accept the new cast of players and keep on singing along.

Death Cab for Cutie Set List:
I Will Possess Your Heart
Crooked Teeth
Why You’d Want to Live Here
Doors Unlocked and Open
Grapevine Fires
Black Sun
Title and Registration
What Sarah Said
I Will Follow You into the Dark
The Ghosts of Beverly Drive
No Sunlight
You’re A Tourist
The New Year
Soul Meets Body
Marching Bands of Manhattan
No Room in Frame
A Movie Script Ending

Review by Stephanie Dore
Photos by Suzi Pratt (

Death Cab for Cutie