Live: Death Cab For Cutie @ The Empire

Pacific Northwestern alternative rockers Death Cab for Cutie played the first of a trio of sold-out shows at West London’s Shepherd’s Bush Empire in support of eighth studio album Kintsugi, which refers to the Japanese art of repairing broken pottery using precious metals.

Ben Gibbard (Kalpesh Patel)

Ben Gibbard (Kalpesh Patel)

Following 17 years as four-person outfit, the dynamic has shifted for this tour as founding member, guitarist and producer Chris Walla departed the band last year following completion of Kintsugi. The touring line-up has expanded to five in order to fill in the void.

Kintsugi track No Room In Frame opened up proceedings followed quickly by Crooked Teeth from their 2005 major label debut album Plans. But it wasn’t until after the fourth track Doors Unlocked And Open, from 2011 album Codes and Keys, that frontman Gibbard addressed his audience, stating that the band had a new record before introducing Kintsugi song Ghosts of Beverly Drive.

Ben Gibbard (Kalpesh Patel)

Ben Gibbard (Kalpesh Patel)

Title and Registration from 2003 album Transatlanticism was followed by new album track Black Sun before the 38-year-old addressed the crowd once more stating “Now for something completely different” before the band launched into the sauntering Kintsugi track Little Wanderer.

“Are you guys ok?” the Crooked Teeth-singer bellowed. “We’re gonna be here for a while so I’ll keep checking”.

Introducing debut record track President of What? Gibbard reminisced “this song was my first tape” to receptive cheers from the crowd. “It’s now available on cassette again” he stated after commenting on the resurgence of audio tapes.

Ben Gibbard (Kalpesh Patel)

Ben Gibbard (Kalpesh Patel)

The biggest cheer of the night so far came as Gibbard left the front of stage and his guitar behind as he stepped behind a piano sat on a riser at the back of the stage and launched into Plans and fan favourite What Sarah Said.

As the rest of the band left the stage, the Washingtonian addressed the crowd. “It’s great to be back in London. But one thing I have to say, what an unbelievably expensive city!” Exaggerating the cost of the capital, he continued “I’m always converting pounds back into dollars. To get the Tube it’s, like, $300. One of those M&S sandwiches, $270”.

He then strapped on an acoustic guitar and played solo acoustic Plans track I Will Follow You Into The Dark, which had the 2000-strong crowd singing back every word.

Ben Gibbard (Kalpesh Patel)

Ben Gibbard (Kalpesh Patel)

“Thanks to We Were Promised Jetpacks” Gibbard said of the band’s opening act. “They prove that the best bands in the UK come from motherf***ing Scotland!” Perhaps a statement better saved for a visit north of the English border given the reaction it garnered.

Narrow Stairs track I Will Possess Your Heart closed the main set, it’s driving instrumental build up allowing Gibbard to roam around the stage focusing on his guitar parts while Nick Hammer’s heavy, repeating baseline infected the very soul of the Shepherd’s Bush Empire.

Ben Gibbard (Kalpesh Patel)

Ben Gibbard (Kalpesh Patel)

The West London crowd were then treated to a four-song encore, which wrapped up with Plans track Marching Bands of Manhattan followed by the title track from 2003’s Transatlanticism.

All in all, an epic two hour set which was a relentless feast for the mind and ears featuring tracks from an extensive career by a remarkable band. New additions Dave Depper on guitar and Zac Rae covering keyboards as well as additional guitars rounded out the remaining core members nicely, if anything enhancing the live show.

I challenge you to listen through the Death Cab for Cutie back catalogue and not find a theme to your own life hidden in there somewhere. And if nothing else, try spotting all of the numerous references to photography!

Catch Death Cab for Cutie at Glastonbury Festival’s John Peel stage on Sunday 28th June ahead of Franz Ferdinand & Sparks’ headline set. They return to the UK in November for a string of dates including a stop at London’s Brixton Academy on November 4th.

[photoshelter-gallery g_id=”G000094KJxBCEHgc” g_name=”Death-Cab-For-Cutie” f_show_caption=”t” f_show_slidenum=”t” img_title=”casc” pho_credit=”iptc” f_link=”t” f_enable_embed_btn=”t” f_send_to_friend_btn=”t” f_fullscreen=”t” f_show_watermark=”t” f_htmllinks=”t” f_mtrx=”t” fsvis=”f” width=”600″ height=”450″ f_constrain=”t” bgcolor=”#ffffff” bgtrans=”t” btype=”new” bcolor=”#CCCCCC” crop=”f” twoup=”t” trans=”flip” tbs=”4000″ f_ap=”t” linkdest=”c” f_topbar=”f” f_bbar=”f” f_bbarbig=”” f_smooth=”f” f_up=”f” target=”_self” ]

Photography & Review by Kalpesh Patel. Death Cab for Cutie @ Shepherd’s Bush Empire on 08/06/2015

Jessie Ware @ Mighty Hoopla 2024 (Kalpesh Patel)

A Mighty Finish To Hoopla Weekend 2024

It’s time for one of the weekend’s big guns as I head over to get a good spot for Rita Ora. She’s not due on for...
Weezer @ The O2 (Kalpesh Patel)

Weezer’s Double Header Slot Feels Like Support At The O2

With LA-hailing rockers Weezer seemingly misstepping with a planned (ans subsequently aborted) 2022 Broadway run in...

Fire, Flirtation And Fighting Cancer At Trixi’s Grindhouse

Signature Brew Haggerston has never been quite so glamorous as it is for the inaugural Trixi’s Grindhouse, the sold...
Liam Gallagher @ The O2 (Abigail Shii)

Liam Gallagher Embodies His Biblical Rock ‘N’ Roll Star At The O2

"Biblical, celestial rock star" proclaim the billboards outside The O2. While Liam Gallagher didn’t quite reach the...
Rival Sons @ Oxford Academy (Sam Holt)

Rivals Sons Play Intimate Show At Oxford Academy As Part Of Their European Summer Tour

Rival Sons, currently on their European tour, stopped off at Oxford's O2 Academy and tonight’s is one of only two...
Rebellion Festival 2024

Stage Times Announced For Blackpool’s Rebellion Festival 2024

Returning this summer over four days from the 1st to the 4th of August at the Winter Gardens in Blackpool, Rebellion...
The Smashing Pumpkins @ The O2 (Kalpesh Patel)

The O2 Is A Vampire As Smashing Pumpkins Exsanguinate In London

“You might have heard, I have a reputation. You heard about that James?” barks Billy Corgan, grinning at his Pumpkins’...
Dean Lewis (Sean Loaney)

Dean Lewis Announces Third LP The Epilogue + Global Tour

Global superstar Dean Lewis has announced that his hotly anticipated third studio album The Epilogue will be released...

Pin It on Pinterest

Share This

Share Thing