The calm before the storm. CREDIT
Death Cab for Cutie
McCarren Park Pool
Tuesday, June 10
No offense to the dudes, but I was not optimistic about this. Terrible idea, right? Trudge out to Williamsburg in the midst of a heat wave, and stand in a giant-ass pool with several thousand people and no water in it while Ben Gibbard complains about his ex-girlfriends? And yet, I am vindicated when dear Ben, his guitar-playing all night a bit wayward (be that a technological or psychological issue), suddenly rips off his axe midway through “Cath” and flings it angrily at his feet. Not exactly a London Calling moment, no, but in the pantheon of gear-trashing, I’ve seen feyer.
Of course, Ben then spent 30 seconds trying to unwind his mic chord from around the stand, staggered waywardly about for a bit, somehow lost his mic entirely, fumbled with a roadie for another 30 seconds getting it back, and eventually limped out to the first row for a few awkward high-fives. This ain’t KISS we’re dealing with. But for an hour and a half Death Cab did what they do splendidly, knotty and moody guitar elegies to various foxy librarians, stuff from 2001’s The Photo Album particularly resonating this evening, “A Movie Script Evening” and “We Laugh Indoors.” (Oh, those titles.) The far newer “I Will Possess Your Heart” adds a welcome note of ominousness and churlishness. And speaking of ominous, during a particularly discordant, out-of-tune “Sound of Settling,” the thunderstorm that’d been looming in the background all night finally swooped in, mighty gusts of wind jolting crowd, band, and set alike: Suddenly it looked for all the world as if the overhead lighting rig was going to fall on the band. In any event the scaffolding seemed remarkably lower than it’d been just a few minutes ago, and the song abruptly concluded, you’ve never seen a band get the hell offstage faster, a sheepish stagehand declare the show over faster, sorry folks, a bemused crowd about to get dumped on clear the exits and haul ass toward the L train faster. Probably not Death Cab’s smoothest, most accomplished show. Good.