Death Cab for Cutie: O2 Academy Leeds – live review

Death Cab for CutieDeath Cab for Cutie

O2 Academy Leeds

29th January 2019

A stunning return to form for Death Cab for Cutie, Thank You For Today comes alive tonight as they thrill a packed audience in Leeds!

Having had significant personnel change before releasing their last album Death Cab for Cutie, perhaps lacked their usual fervour when they toured Kintsugi. However, with new members Zac and Dave now embedded in, would the Thank You for Today tour be any different? In short yes, with the new members firmly finding their feet they present a reinvigorated sound and presence. First though are one of the bands of the moment in The Beths, having released one of the best albums of last year.

Liz Stokes and her band take to the stage armed with an arsenal of unbelievably catchy pop tracks and set about warming up this packed crowd. It’s hard not to fall in love with their music every track packed with insatiable hooks, the likes of Happy Unhappy and Future Me Hates Me are particular favourites in their short set. We genuinely cannot wait to catch these guys again soon and there are going to be plenty of opportunities as they’re touring extensively for the next six months.

With a suitably warm crowd on what is an otherwise grim and cold evening Death Cab for Cutie dole out on to the stage to a huge reception. Opening with I Dreamt We Spoke Again from Thank You For Today, their set already feels more exciting as there is a different energy about the band. Where last time it felt as if they were going through motions this time they’re enthusiastic and driven. Every track more intense than the last in this packed set, Long Division is an early crowd favourite alongside Crooked Teeth. Even the bands banter between songs has exponentially improved, they connect with the audience in a way that they’ve not done so before.

In some ways they’ve dropped some of the indie sad boy facade and instead become much more engaging and inviting. 60 & Punk from Thank You For Today is arguably one of the highlights of their set, with Gibbard taking to the front of the stage without an instrument and instead just basking in the true front man glory for a brief moment. It’s a set packed with the old and the new with the band even making a joke out of it, “the Death Cab bell curve, if you don’t know it’s either really old or really new”.

The latter part of their set compounds their brilliance with some of their finest work to date getting an outing. A Movie Script Ending, Cath… We Looked Like Giants and finally Soul Meets Body giving this packed out crowd exactly what they wanted to hear. There is still something so effortless about Death Cab for Cutie after all of these years, their songs so hard hitting but delivered so delicately and beautifully you cannot help but be enamoured by their lyrics and performance.

As Gibbard returns alone for the start of the encore, it provides one of the moments of the night as the whole crowd are joined in song for a rousing rendition of I Will Follow You Into The Dark. Rejoined by the band they close out with When We Drive, Marching Bands of Manhattan and the ever impressive Transatlanticism. Tonight proves that Death Cab For Cutie have weathered the storm of losing a key founding member and have risen and come back stronger. Their set tonight is as powerful and fervent as ever, their enthusiasm exuding from every song as they thrill a packed house in Leeds.

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Death Cab for Cutie can be found online here deathcabforcutie.com. They’re also on Facebook and tweet as @DCFC.

All words by Lee Hammond. You can check out more work by Lee at his Louder Than War author’s archive, he also tweets as @Napzap.

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