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Story by Andy Argyrakis
The latter were on display in the intimate and acoustically flawless studio, which based upon the up close and personal feel, recalled the band's early days of playing clubs as opposed to massive theatres, arenas and festival. Outside of giving fans an incredibly rare opportunity to get right down in front, the foursome also seemed quite at home and were definitely in full-tilt performance mode across a mostly solid, though just a shy too short 65-minutes.
While the band's been blasted by indie purists for selling out to the major label system, the group can still connect on stage, ironically, pulling a major chunk of its 14-song set from 2003's Barsuk breakthrough Transatlanticism. Granted, that was long before the band had radio hits, but the early insertion of "The New Year" found Death Cab recalling a creative peak and seamlessly blending its momentum building alternative appeal with shoegazing simplicity.
The brand new track "My Mirror Speaks" (off the Atlantic EP The Open Door) was one of the few current tracks to recall that classic synthesis, finding front man Ben Gibbard teetering the ledge between pensive and powerful. On album, last year's "I Will Possess Your Heart" suffered from sterile production and a lackluster presentation, but in concert, it exploded like an entirely different entity, thanks in part to a several minute psychedelic build-up anchored by bassist Nick Harmer.
That type of tension also flanked the grand finale "Transatlanticism," with percussion player Jason McGerr displaying the most intensity of the evening as he carried out the celebrated track's towering crescendo. However, its predecessor "The Sound of Settling" was truly the night's highlight, showcasing Gibbard and guitarist Chris Walla's melodic interplay and the audience's playful participation. Fans of all fervency levels will have a chance to judge the career spanning show for themselves when it airs nationally on July 9, with additional details on the entire "Soundstage" season available at www.wttw.com/soundstage.
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