Death Cab for Cutie spices up Taste of Chicago

The Taste of Chicago got a dose of indie rock Thursday night from Death Cab for Cutie at
the Petrillo Music Shell.

The Seattle foursome played for fans present at The Taste while being broadcast live on 93 XRT radio station and streamed on their website. Arizona natives Calexico opened with a lively performance.

DCFC’s set began with a solo Ben Gibbard playing “I Will Follow You Into the Dark” with only his acoustic guitar. The song is arguably one of the band’s most famous, and was most likely a strategic choice for a mixed crowd of fans and Taste of Chicago attendees.

The nature of the crowd and setting continued to influence the set list. General admission seating tickets were $25 while lawn tickets were free, drawing a different crowd than the average DCFC show. The set list was heavy in songs from the band’s latest album “Codes and Keys” and other better-known songs from older albums including “Lightness” from “Transatlanticism” and “I Will Possess Your Heart” from “Narrow Stairs.”

Following the mood of an outdoor set at a food festival, Death Cab kept the mood light. For a band often known for emotion-laden songs, many of these were absent from the set. Crowd favorites like “Soul Meets Body,” “Cath,” “Crooked Teeth,” and “New Year” kept the crown bouncing along.

Ben Gibbard often keeps a friendly banter with the crowd, and Thursday was no different. He reflected on playing a show outside in daylight, pleased he could see faces in the crowd. He further commented that however, he always sees the man who looks painfully bored next to the girl having a great time. “If that’s not not love, that is love” Gibbard said laughing while stumbling over his words.

As a happy girl standing next to a painfully bored boyfriend, I particularly related to his statement. Gibbard and guitarist Chris Walla kept up the playful attitude with the crowd poking fun at the inaudible screams from a crowd member.

This certainly was a show for the masses not the die-hard Death Cab for Cutie Fan. If not evident by the choice in songs, the lack of an encore sealed such a fate. Those accustomed to an encore closing with “Transatlanticism” were sadly disappointed.

Many fans took to twitter to inquire about the encore’s noticeable absense with Gibbard replaying to a fan with tweet “”@pstlpop: @Gibbstack Dude, why no encore tonight in Chicago?” City-enforced noise curfew at 8:00 pm. We finished at 7:58pm.” With a 6:45 p.m start the set was noticeably shorter than usual.

Even with the departures from average DCFC shows, Gibbard’s voice was spot-on with a tight rhythm section to match. Regardless of some disappointments, a live Death Cab for Cutie set can never truly disappoint.