|Death Cab for Cutie/Pretty Girls Make Graves
November 9, 2004 - The Paramount - Seattle, WA
|review by Ashley Graham|
|A strange but interesting combination of talents turned into an explosive night of Seattle's best as Death Cab for Cutie and Pretty Girls Make Graves invaded the Paramount Theatre.
Nearing the end of their collaborative tour, both acts were at their musical best.
Pretty Girls Make Graves started off the night with their delightful blend of pop and punk and whatever else you might be able to name. Lead singer Andrea Zollo strutted her stuff as normal, despite the oversized venue. Guitarist J Clark seemed much more relaxed than the last time I saw them when he was flip-flopping from guitar to keyboard to make up for the loss of Nathan Thelen who had recently left the band at that point. Now, that position at the keyboards has been filled by a new member, whom the band's website names simply Leona.
Pretty Girls' set includes the best of their catalog and especially sharp is "Blue Lights" and "Chemical, Chemical," both from their latest effort The New Romance. Even though this band is more at home in the smaller venue, they put on a great performance that was not nearly as long as it should have been.
Headliners Death Cab for Cutie have puzzled me since the first time I saw them live last spring. Every time since, including this particular night, they have played nearly the exact same setlist, a setlist which includes nearly, if not every track of thier latest album Transatlanticism, released, at this point, over a year ago. This would make for a great performance, if it were not for those four other full-length albums they have under their musical belt.
Why do they play like a new band that has released only one album? After three performances, I'm still not sure. Maybe that is the only album they figure that the majority of their "fans" have discovered, as it is the only one featured so prominently in that kid's room on The O.C. But that's just speculation.
Despite this small glitch, Death Cab is great live. They play their songs with a perfection that somehow satisfies both those attached to the original album versions and those looking for something a little different. Their commentary is limited but warm. Singer Ben Gibbard reminisces about his first concert taking place at the Paramount years ago and his pleads for parent permission to attend, he talks about how great the show up the street with Ted Leo would be if the crowd were there instead of where they are, and guitarist Chris Walla mumbles something about being up on a school night in Seattle. Death Cab is appreciative of their fan base and quick to make that fact known.
After an hour and a half on stage Death Cab retreats before their eventual encore, which holds tonight a special surprise.
If the point hadn't already been made tonight that Seattle, Washington has produced some of today's most talented musicians, Death Cab decides to bring out one of the best that Seattle has ever produced. Pearl Jam's Eddie Vedder took the stage for the first song of the encore, a cover of Las' "Timeless Melody." The Seattle crowd accordingly went absolutely insane, with a standing ovation reaching all the way to the top of the Paramount balcony.
Gibbard said it best; "I wish sometimes that the fourteen year old me could talk to the twenty-eight year old me, because he'd never have believed that shit just happened."