A sold-out Fox Theater Pomona cheered so loudly between songs that Ben Gibbard jokingly told the crowd to shut up and let him talk as he was in the midst of explaining how fun it is to play in Pomona. Death Cab for Cutie were there wrapping up the second leg of their stateside tour in support of their latest album, Codes and Keys.
The somber bass line to "I Will Possess Your Heart" was expertly crafted by Nick Harmer as the band assembled onstage in a veil of darkness. Gibbard would sporadically grab his E-bow guitar sustainer to add washes of noise as the song slowly built before rushing over to his keyboards.
"We Laugh Indoors" had a roaring cacophony of noise in breakdown dispelling any thoughts that Death Cab for Cutie didn't know how to bring the rock. Chris Walla hunkered over his Korg MS-20 for a hypnotic synthesizer bass line for "Doors Unlocked and Open," while Gibbard utilized his two microphones to color the song with a sample of his vocals.
Throughout the evening, the crowd's energy matched Death Cab's as they gleefully clapped along during "Long Division." The pace of the evening slowed down with "Grapevine Fires," as Walla switched over to the keyboards. The band members would shuffle instruments once more for "Codes and Keys," as Harmer handled the sustained guitar melody.
Gibbard again utilized his two-microphone set-up for "You're a Tourist"; the song was propelled by the shuffling drums of Jason McGerr. "Company Calls" was as ferocious, with Walla slashing away at his Rickenbacker guitar for a shoegaze-like ending. The crowd sang along to "Soul Meets Body"; you could barely hear Gibbard over the crowd.
"We Looked Like Giants" was a highlight of the evening, its ominous build-up devolving into Gibbard bashing a drum kit in sync with McGerr as the electronic screens behind them flashed rapidly. The encore came too quickly, with Gibbard donning an acoustic guitar for "Stay Young, Go Dancing." The usual finisher of "Transatlanticism" rounded out a perfect night.
Zach Rogue shelved his usual gig in Rogue Wave for a new project titled Release the Sunbird; they recently released the album Come Back to Us on Brushfire records. Rogue delighted fans with a handful of sweet melodies and perfectly executed harmonies. Their cover of the Talking Heads' "Road to Nowhere" featured a few of the band members taking a turn on lead vocals.
Personal Bias: I went to Santa Barbara to see them again the next day.
Crowd: Mid-20s to -30s who may have discovered Death Cab for Cutie by watching the TV show The O.C.
Random Notebook Dump: Death Cab for Cutie will be releasing a remix EP titled "Keys and Codes" next month.
"I Will Possess Your Heart"
"We Laugh Indoors"
"Doors Unlocked and Open"
"Codes and Keys"
"Blacking Out the Friction/St. Peter's Cathedral"
"I Will Follow You Into the Dark"
"You're a Tourist"
"The New Year"
"Underneath the Sycamore"
"Soul Meets Body"
"We Looked Like Giants"
"The Sound of Settling"
"Brothers On a Hotel Bed"
"Stay Young, Go Dancing"