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death cab for cutieLive-Music-Hall, Cologne, Germany
6th February 2019
Death Cab For Cutie, Support: The Beths

In mid-August, the Americans released their ninth studio album, ‘Thank You For Today’, in a new line-up. Twenty years have passed since the band from Seattle came together and yet it always sounds new. After the last work, ‘Kintsugi’ of 2015, founding member, guitarist and producer Chris Walla left the band in all friendship after 15 years. In addition to the long-time band members Ben Gibbard, Nick Harmer and Jason McGerr, the new band members Dave Depper and Zac Rae were in the studio. Since 2015 they are already part of the live cast of DEATH CAB FOR CUTIE.

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On their new album, ‘Thank your for today’, DEATH CAB FOR CUTIE build their sound, refine it, but always find new curves in their handwriting and explore new sonic corners. This exemplary collection of ten tracks alternately sounds beautiful, dynamic, sombre-hymnal and bittersweet. And the beautiful title? Last fall, the five members of DEATH CAB spent weeks with producer Rich Costey in his studio in Santa Monica, where they recorded the basic tracks live and later worked with other layers of sound. Every day they finished the work with the words “Thank you for today”, says Harmer. Over time, it really started to mean something to the band. And when they all started thinking about what they wanted to call the album, it just seemed to fit perfectly. In fact, it is a strong statement against the roughness of our days - and a fitting mantra for the new great music of DEATH CAB FOR CUTIE, which the guys will be presenting live to us early next year.

The Beths

New Zealand four-piece THE BETHS channel their long-time friendship into high - energy guitar Pop with a smart lyrical bite and a technically great drumming. Comprised of front woman Elizabeth (Liz) Stokes and her partners Jon, Ben and Adam, they released their debut album, ‘Future Me Hates Me’, last year. The songs go in the ear, but unfortunately they all sound very similar. The friendly appearance made a relaxed start into the evening. /

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01. Future Me Hates Me
02. Uptown Girl
03. You Wouldn’t Like Me
04. Not Running
05. Happy Unhappy
06. Less Than You
07. Great No One
08. Little Death

Music: 5
Performance: 5
Light: 6
Sound: 6
Total: 5.5 / 10

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Death Cab For Cutie

DEATH CAB FOR CUTIE was founded in California in 1997 and has undergone various reinvention of Indie Rock. In every phase, they were always in the lead. With their debut album, ‘You Can Play These Songs With Chords’ (1997), the band presented itself as a standard for American College Rock. In 2003, DEATH CAB FOR CUTIE had developed the much more serious and rough style of song writing, which is reflected in their hit album, ‘Transatlanticism’. The latest album, however, is again a collection of necklaces. In America, DEATH CAB FOR CUTIE are Indie kings. By participating in the teen drama series ‘The O.C.’ and through emotional sincerity, they have conquered many hearts and minds of teenagers. With a career spanning of three decades and albums from the different eras of the genre, it was impossible to guess how this evening would unfold. The sold-out hall provided a great atmosphere even before the concert started. /

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Music & Performance
DEATH CAB FOR CUTIE provided an electrically charged set that made deep cuts in the diverse discography and proved how well the five people have become fantastic musicians. The light show wasn’t active though. The whole time the stage was very dark and I have to say it was the worst lightshow on a stage like that I have ever seen (or even not seen). It might appear that only small stages can be used and the small club shows that made the band big will fit better. The band just grown too fast and lost the aesthetics in big events. Most of the presented songs were fan favourites; with ‘Soul Meets Body’, ‘Title & Registration’, ‘I Will Possess Your Heart’ and ‘Why You’d Want To Live Here’ the nostalgias got enthusiastic. One of the most beautiful moments was when Gibbard came back on stage alone and played ‘I want to follow you into the dark’.

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Benjamin Gibbard is changeable; in one moment he is the Punk-Pop-boy-wonder that dances across the stage with chirping guitars and powerfully aesthetic sound from ‘The Sound Of Settling’, the next moment he’s Dean Martin who hovered over the crowd with ‘60s & Punk’. The gap between live and on record is bigger than ever, and anyone who only listens to the current album as a reference misses something. No matter if older or newer pieces, even the otherwise weaker pieces are a hit live. As an encore, the funeral ballad ‘I Will Follow Into The Dark’ was played, which comes as no surprise. Still, it is always impressive when a complete hall sings a song and so affirms the band saying, DEATH CAB FOR CUTIE, you’re relevant and will stay that way.

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01. I Dreamt We Spoke Again
02. Summer Years
03. The Ghosts of Beverly Drive
04. Long Division
05. Title and Registration
06. Gold Rush
07. Crooked Teeth
08. Why You’d Want To Live Here
09. No Sunlight
10. Summer Skin
11. 60 & Punk
12. I Will Possess Your Heart
13. Autumn Love
14. Black Sun
15. Expo '86
16. Northern Lights
17. You Are a Tourist
18. Cath…
19. Soul Meets Body
20. The Sound of Settling
21. I Will Follow You Into the Dark
22. When We Drive
23. We Looked Like Giants
24. Transatlanticism

Music: 7
Performance: 5
Light: 2
Sound: 7
Total: 5 / 10

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All pictures by Daniela Vorndran ( /

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