Monday, 14 December 2009

694 DEATH CAB FOR CUTIE, John Vanderslice, Oxford Brookes University, Saturday 11 March 2006

Bloody Brookes again? D'oh! When I originally booked tix for this show, it was scheduled for the infinitely preferable Zodiac, but demand saw it switched to the bigger Brookes venue, which also then sold out! Flip! Tim and Penny were also due to come with us, but they had clashing commitments so backed out. Perhaps they just didn't want to go to this horrible venue!

So, Rachel and I set off at about 7.30 with somewhat heavy hearts, not really looking forward to this one. We found the place OK this time, but again an unnecessarily long queue coupled with attempts to sell Tim's tickets (we managed to flog one) meant it took nearly 15 minutes after arriving to get in, and we missed all but the last half of the last John Vanderslice number! As he had a band with him this time, this would have been worth watching...

So we got drinks and wandered around the venue in the usual futile search for an adequate viewing spot, eventually settling for an angled view stage left by the entrance to the toilets! Great...

Death Cab For Cutie sauntered casually on at 10 to 9 - early! Good on 'em! - and kicked off with the opener to their recent very fine "Plans" CD. A band who've never come close to matching their brilliant 2002 "Photo Album" CD for me, their set tonight was nevertheless much better than my last viewing at the aforementioned Zodiac. Their intricate and introspective bedsit ballads were played with care and respect this time, and they only "rocked out" when there was a specific need (e.g. the middle 8 to the excellent "We Laugh Indoors"). Wordsmith and vocalist Ben Gibbard was in playful mood, but the song delivery tonight was deliberate, controlled and appropriate. Very fine indeed - certainly more than the venue, or the static and unappreciative audience, deserved!

A sinewy "Movie Script Ending" (one of only 2 "Photo Album" numbers tonight - boo!) and set closer "Sound Of Settling" were the highlights until the encore, which provided a faithful cover of REM's classic "Driver 8", and a triumphant, end of tour "Transatlanticism", which included John Vanderslice and his band getting a piece of the action. Great finish, fine set, poor audience, crap venue!

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