Last Friday, May 4th, Death Cab For Cutie played an intimate (and sold out) show at ACL Live at the Moody Theater. Over the years, I’ve had the (dis)pleasure of seeing the band perform a few times at Austin Music Hall. Since that venue is THE WORST, I couldn’t ever really see or hear anything. So even though it’s been awhile since I actively listened to Death Cab I figured I owed it to them to actually see a show. And I figured ACL Live (probably my favorite venue in Austin) would be the place to do that.

The opening act, Youth Lagoon, started promptly at 8. The venue was set up theater style, with a curtain backdrop, seats all around, and a “no cellphone/no camera” announcement. Because of this set up, Youth Lagoon’s show came off a little awkward. I’ve heard a ton about Youth Lagoon but am, admittedly, not that familiar with the entirety of the debut album, The Year of Hibernation. Overall, it was a good show but I’d like to see the band at a venue that lends itself to a more energetic crowd. Trevor Powers and a guitar player were bathed in nothing but white light in the center of the stage and the combination of Youth Lagoon’s lo-fi songs with the mellow audience made for a rather somber show.

I obeyed the no camera request during Youth Lagoon but nearly everyone whipped out their phone to photograph Ben Gibbard so I did too.

Kicking off Death Cab for Cutie’s set, San Francisco’s Magik*Magik Orchestra set the tone of the show with their captivating string arrangements. That’s another reason I wanted to see this particular Death Cab show, as I’m a sucker for big, interesting instrumentation. The Magik*Magik Orchestra can be heard on the band’s latest album, Codes and Keys, but they put together arrangements for much of Death Cab’s discography for this tour. They were the perfect accompaniment.

The set list weaved its way nicely through Death Cab’s catalogue and you could tell the band made an effort to make this tour different than their previous outings. Towards the end of the show was a chill inducing version of the band’s hit “Soul Meets Body.” The combination of Gibbard’s voice, the lighting (the reason I love this venue so much), and the orchestration was pretty magical.

After what was already a satisfying number of songs, Death Cab came back for a seven song encore. As another example of how the band changed it up for this tour, the majority of the encore was an acoustic set consisting of songs from their earlier albums and a cover The American Analog Set’s “Weather Report.” The full set list is below.

With this show, I feel like I can properly (and finally) check Death Cab for Cutie off my “bands to see live” list.

Passenger Seat
Different Names for the Same Thing
A Movie Script Ending
Title and Registration
Grapevine Fires
Codes and Keys
Underneath the Sycamore
Little Fury Bugs
Death of an Interior Decorator
You Are a Tourist
Bend to Squares
No Joy in Mudville
What Sarah Said
Soul Meets Body
Stay Young, Go Dancing

Steadier Footing (Acoustic)
Weather Report (The American Analog Set cover)
405 (Acoustic)
Monday Morning (Acoustic)
I Will Follow You into the Dark
Tiny Vessels

– Submitted by Jessica Reed, Social Media