Hardy hoping, I spend it all on game machines

So last night was the big Indie Pop show at the Somerville Theater last night. Ben Gibbard [from Death Cab For Cutie] played with David Bazan [formerly Pedro the Lion] and Johnathan Rice.

Ben opened with a cover of "To Sing For You" [Donovan], and melted it seamlessly into Postal Service's "Brand New Colony", which is the first time I started crying.

I want to take you far from the cynics in this town
And kiss you on the mouth
We'll cut out bodies free from the tethers of this scene,
Start a brand new colony
Gibbard's songs work well when stripped of the full band [Death Cab] or electronica [Postal Service], further cementing my position that he's probably one of the greatest songwriters of the century. Five songs into the set, Title and Registration proved to be his first misstep.
There's no blame for how our love did slowly fade
And now that it's gone it's like it wasn't there at all
And here I rest where disappointment and regret collide
Lying awake at night
Beautiful, right? I was totally tearing up again, until he cut it short, joking about being out of tune. Which I had noticed, but was willing to forgive in exchange for some heartbreaking lyricism. But now that he had pointed it out, it was of course all I noticed throughout the rest of the evening: Ben Gibbard really can't sing very well. When sitting at the piano for "Soul Meets Body", I wasn't sure how he was going to pull it off - I thought maybe he would spare us the falsetto, but no.

I don't think the crowd seemed to mind much - Plans material was well received, as was old and obscure 7 inch split singles. A sing-along was had by all, and a bit too loudly from some young girls near me for my taste. He played a few brand new tracks, which sounded kind of meh, but I bet will be improved by a band.

Other notes? "Recycled Air", a nice Postal Service ballad, kind of flopped - it works so well on the record but stripped of its electronic ambience it lacked it's recorded punch. More covers - Harvest Moon, All Apologies also both fell flat for me. Good job with "Such Great Heights" - riding somewhere between Postal Service and Iron and Wine's cover.

I've always like David Bazan live and on record, but even I realize that he's been writing and singing the same song for 10 years now. Don't get me wrong - it's a great song. But he's definitely an acquired taste. Opener Johnathan Rice went in one ear and out the other.

If I sound cranky I was - I know I was lucky to see this sold out show in such a small venue, but here's what the top of the Somerville Theater looks like:

I've found out that row LL in the center balcony is the last row. I could feel half of the sound moving beneath me and not reaching up to the nosebleeds. So, would I go see Ben Gibbard again? THE ANSWER IS PROBABLY NOT, BUT WE STILL LIKE DEATH CAB FOR CUTIE.

Additionally, I rescued my review of the last time I saw DCFC from the old and broken web-log.

1 Comment:

  1. Dumbek said...
    I caught this show last night in DC and thought it was wonderful. With him moving between the guitar and piano I can't help but make Neil Young comparisons. A slightly overblown comparison, but I'll blame that on the Stella Artois.

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