Death Cab for Cutie ends the Santa Barbara Bowl season on a high note
The Santa Barbara Bowl’s last show of the season, Wednesday, October 19, brought a bit of everything that makes the Bowl great: hot summer weather, loud guitars, upbeat pop and an equally lively crowd. jubilation. Legendary indie rock band Yo La Tengo kicked things off with distortion-laden ferocity, turning tracks like “I Heard You Looking” into long guitar solos with amps blazing, guitars swaying and a high return. . Fall’s favorite “Autumn Sweater” is always a highlight, and their performance left the audience in a contented sonic trance. Ben Gibbard, vocalist and guitarist for headliners Death Cab for Cutie, even joined them on keyboards, kicking off with a joyous wave and returning to the stage soon after for another energetic performance.
After Yo La Tengo’s sprawling set, Death Cab’s demanding strobe lights and perfectly timed handclaps to the catchy “I Don’t Know How I Survive” from the 10th studio album, “Asphalt Meadows,” were remarkably tight. . Gibbard is a pro, and a happy one at that. He excitedly switched between new songs such as “Here to Forever” to audience favorites like “Movie Script Ending” and “The New Year,” each playing with fresh energy. It was a bit surreal to hear Gibbard’s signature vocals blaze through earworms like “Crooked Teeth” and “The Sound of Settling.”
The packed crowd was leaping and gesticulating to the earnest and soulful songs. I could only imagine the shared nostalgia we could all experience—memories of high school, college, and beyond played out on a Death Cab soundtrack. Perhaps the most magical part of the night happened when Gibbard played the classic “I’ll Follow You In The Dark.” In a stripped down moment, the acoustics came out, as did the campfire vibes. Gibbard even asked the audience to take his own verse and we sang in unison, my friend next to me opting for soft harmonies.
In a world with so much of the unknown and the darkness of winter setting in, the latest show at The Bowl proved how miraculously alone we can feel with the simple power of music.