This one fell on an Evan visit Saturday but, undeterred, we sorted tickets and hammered down the M40 to Oxford, getting to the venue at 10 past 8 just as the cumbersomely-named first band were finishing, so I have no idea what they sounded like! The Cribs, on the other hand, we did hear, albeit from the bar. They had an element of C86 cutesy jingle about them, but also a catchy glam rock edge. Not too bad but I couldn't eat a whole one.
The place was very full so we wandered back in, and took up position stage right. However we realised DCFC vocalist Ben Gibbard was set up as far stage left as possible, and it was too rammed to move over. D'oh! I was nevertheless well up for this one, with Death Cab For Cutie being providers of my favourite album of 2002 with "The Photo Album", and also receiving my Best Band of Reading Festival that same year with a superb performance. Initially, they lived up to my expectations tonight with strident versions of "A Movie Script Ending" and "The New Year". Then it started to go... not so much "wrong" really, as just "not right". "Why You'd Want To Live Here", their best number by far, was dispensed with unnecessarily early in the set, all its' absorbing elements and intricate tunefulness buried under swathes of loud riffery. Thereafter the set, concentrating mainly on 2003 CD "Transatlanticism", and disappointingly omitting both "We Laugh Indoors" and "I Was A Kaleidoscope" rarely reached the expected heights. Death Cab For Cutie songs are intelligent, thoughtful, intricate little beasts, and tonight they did not benefit from the manhandling that they were given. DCFC rocked, and that was the problem.
We headed off straight after the set, as tiredness from the big day set in. Disappointing, sure, but I like this lot too much to give up on them after one below-par performance!