Ben Gibbard, lead vocalist and guitarist, clutches the microphone with both hands in a stranglehold, orange and blue lights pour over the crowd in long, smokey streams and fingers sway through the air in a quasi-religious stretch towards the ceiling above: Death Cab for Cutie is the midst of “I Will Possess Your Heart” at Palace Theater on Saturday night Oct. 7.
The band is currently on tour for their newest album which dropped in August this year entitled Thank You For Today. The Saturday show is the second in the Twin Cities after the first rapidly sold out and they added a second which also sold out. The rest of their tour leading up to this past weekend sold out repeatedly as well. They follow after a popier opener, Charly Bliss.
They’ve been playing since 1997 when they started in Bellingham, Washington. Since then, they’ve released eight albums with a ninth on the way later in the year and been nominated for eight Grammy awards. Nick Harmer, Jason McGerr, Dave Depper and Zac Rae make up the rest of the band.
The concert was composed of striking, emotive lyrics with a backdrop of deep guitar and bright, electric lights on a massive screen behind the five-part band. The emo-indie sound of the band brought a blended crowd from vest topped flannels to fishnets under tights.
The performance was frank and emotional, with the underpinnings of their more rock sound elements, except for a stripped down acoustic of “I Will Follow You Into The Dark” to start off their encore performance.
The most striking moments came when Gibbard’s voice rang out above the assorted instrumentals and sang bluntly about longing, loneliness and distance to a crowd of impassioned head-bobbing and emotional swaying. Against a backdrop of color, the band’s vocalist held his guitar and sang as a shadow in front of brilliant orange lights, with a chorus of the audience’s voices joining him for the popular 2005 release.
Audience enthusiasm, throughout the concert, peaked when the band dipped into their older sets singing favorites like “Cath,” “Transatlanticism” and “Soul and Body” though energy stayed high consistently throughout the entire two hour show until Gibbard parted with the audience with a soft, “See you soon.”
The concert was not as fun as it was centering and reinvigorating, like a celebration of the bittersweet elements of life against a bright colorful backdrop that muted the honesty of their lyrics. For most, this meant a little less dancing and a little more feeling.