Death Cab for Cutie makes waves in Pittsburgh

Zach Petroff | Opinions Editor | Lead singer Ben Gibbard graces Stage AE with classic indie-rock hits.

Zach Petroff | Opinions Editor

Oct. 13, 2022

On Monday, Stage AE was taken over by a crowd of millennial hipsters, as if the concert venue had turned into a thrift shop offering a half-price sale: Indie-rock band Death Cab for Cutie was in town. The band’s self-titled world tour is supporting their tenth album “Asphalt Meadows” which was released on Sept. 16.

Opening act Thao & the Get Down Stay Down replaced band Low, an indie-rock band from Duluth whose drummer and singer Mimi Parker is recovering from cancer treatment. According to the band’s Twitter Page, Parker is still in a “fragile state” and not healthy enough to travel.

Thao & the Get Down Stay Down played songs from their five albums, including one of their biggest hits “Holy Roller” from their “We Are Common” album released in 2013.

The Grammy-nominated band led by singer, vocalist and piano player Ben Gibbard played songs from their new albums and the classic hits spanning from the band’s entire 10 album discography. The often-categorized “emo band’s” setlist masterfully blended their commercial hits such as “You are a Tourist” and “I Will Possess Your Heart,” with more fan favorites such as “Brothers on a Hotel Bed” and “Soul Meets Body.”

The light show accompanied the bands ability to create a retro ambiance that shuffled between a lone spotlight on Gibbard and a colorful spectacle that lit up the stage. The audience was given a glimpse into the lead singer’s relentless work ethic and talent. Between songs, Gibbard was either changing his guitars or running to the piano, often genuinely thanking the audience for coming out.

The band started in Bellingham, Washington, in 1997 and found commercial success with their 2003 album “Transatlanticism.” While there have been some changes in the band, such as guitarist and songwriter Chris Walla leaving in 2014, the core of the band has been centered around Gibbard’s signature sappy voice and meaningful lyrics. Since 2006, the band has been nominated for eight Grammys.

The major highlights of the night included an acoustic version of their hit song “I Will Follow You into the Dark,” a soulful love song that deals with everlasting love in the face of death. A lone spotlight shined on Gibbard as the sound of his lone guitar erupted the venue with emotion. The lyrics cut through the audience as to suspend time for that moment. It was the essence of live music.

During another fan favorite “Soul Meets Body” Gibbard stopped singing the chorus as the audience took over, sloppily imitating the lead singer’s high notes. The band softly accompanied the off-key performances of concert goers.

For over an hour and a half, the indie-pop band captivated an audience by relying on the fundamental pillars of what has made them successful. Short and emotional songs that capture the feelings of love, loss and loneliness with some existential dread sprinkled in.