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Whilst standing outside the Manchester Academy the air was filled with warm excitement waiting to get inside to watch Death Cab for Cutie. The American indie band, from Bellingham in Washington, played at the venue as part of their Codes and Keys European Tour.

After bundling into the gig room for the evening, the crowd was welcomed by The Head and The Heart, a delicate but powerful indie-folk band from Seattle. The group have a classic natural sound with simple acoustic foundations, poetic lyrics and beautiful harmonising vocals. Fans of Fleet Foxes must have a listen; you will fall head over heels for this band.

Death Cab for Cutie have been releasing music since 1997, which has resulted in a fantastic back catalogue of indie hits. It was a real treat to experience some of the cement favourites performed including the guitar crunching set opener “The New Year” from the group’s fourth studio album. Death Cab didn’t mess around and dove straight into the first two tracks of the night. After a “Hello, how are you?” they breezed through the rest of the set without faltering once, creating varied moments of euphoria and cheerful rocking. A particular memorable moment enfolded half way through he set during the very cute acoustic number, “I Will Follow You into the Dark”. Lead singer Ben Gibbard was the centre of attention highlighted in orange against the blue-lit stage, and the crowd became littered in camera displays as people documented the moment and sang every word with him.

You may recognise lead singer Ben Gibbard’s loveable voice if you are a fan of the indie- electronic 2-man band The Postal Service, which includes Ben and producer Jimmy Tamborello. Ben held an inviting two-step swagger as he performed and the band maintained a tight, professional performance throughout the warm set which fed the fans excitement and urge to sing along throughout the night. Coming toward the end, the organ opens “Marching Bands of Manhattan”, a clear favourite and then the evening finishes with “Transatlanticism”, a track that could calm anyone’s nerves and make staying to the end, despite the humidity, a worthy treat for any Death Cab fan.

If you have not come across this band in your travels before then we highly recommend you have a listen, particularly if you are a fan of ambient indie bands such as Band of Horses, The Decemberists and Phoenix. Codes and Keys, released the end of May 2011, is the 7th studio album by the quirky 4-piece and follows the single “Meet Me on the Equinox”, which featured on the teenage-vampire blockbuster soundtrack “Twilight: New Moon”.

The new album features the number 1 US Alternative chart single “You Are a Tourist”, an uplifting track that opens with a delightfully catchy guitar riff that leads the rest of the track. This was not the only track that resides on the new album that was performed on that fine summer evening. They broke the ice at song number six with “Doors Unlocked and Open”, another superb guitar rift with a steady rhythm, simple melody and melancholic vocals. They also performed the beautiful track “Some Boys” which holds a more euphoric essence as it progresses, a great song to hear live with its easy sing-a-long lyrics. Other unperformed tracks from the new album include the theatrical “Unobstructed Views”, a piece of music with a prolonged intro that will take you into a world of wonder, as well as the light hearted “Portable Television” with pondering lyrics and bouncy piano.

Death Cab for Cutie Set List

1.  The New Year (Transatlanticism, 2003)
2.  Why You’d Want to Live Here (The Photo Album, 2001)
3.  Crooked Teeth (Plans, 2005)
4.  Photobooth (The Forbidden Love EP, 2000)
5.  Company Calls (We Have The Facts and We are Voting Yes, 2000)
6.  Door Unlocked and Open (Codes and Keys, 2011)
7.  Long Division (Narrow Stairs, 2008)
8.  Grapevine Fires (Narrow Stairs, 2008)
9.  Code and Keys (Code and Keys, 2011)
10. Summer Skin (Plans, 2005)
11. I Will Follow You Into The Dark (Plans, 2005)
12. Bixby Canyon Bridge (Narrow Stairs, 2008)
13. I Will Possess Your Heart (Narrow Stairs, 2008)
14. You are a Tourist (Codes and Keys, 2011)
15. Underneath the Sycamore (Codes and Keys, 2011)
16. President of What? (Something About Airplanes, 1998)
17. Title and Registration (Transatlanticism, 2003)
18. A Movie Script Ending (The Photo Album, 2001)
19. Soul Meets Body (Plans, 2005)
20. Some Boys (Codes and Keys, 2011)
21. Cath… (Narrow Stairs, 2008)
22. The Sound of Settling (Transatlanticism, 2003)
23. Stay Young, Go Dancing (Codes and Keys, 2011)
24. Styrofoam Plates (The Photo Album, 2001)
25. Marching Bands of Manhatten (Plans, 2005)
26. Transatlantacism (Transatlantacism, 2003)

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Team Zavvi

Team Zavvi


A collection of thoughts, opinions and news from the staff at Zavvi.