Thursday, May 15, 2008

Death Cab for Cutie, Flight of the Conchords Trip Report 5-15-08

I posted recently about an upcoming doubleheader. Well, it was last night.

I won tickets from a local radio station to see a small club show with Death Cab for Cutie. I really don't know much about this band but I had heard a couple of songs on XM and really liked the songs. But, I hadn't gone out of my way to track them down any further than that. When the contest came up, I decided "What the heck, I like what I've heard". Now I feel a little bad for winning because I'm sure there are some huge fans that didn't get a chance to go because I won tickets. But, I can't give the things away so the better half and I were going!

Leading up to the show, I received a copy of their platinum record Plans. That was this past weekend. I listened to it a few times and it just so happens that the band performed on Letterman Monday night, so I checked that out too. On Letterman, they performed the first release from the CD just out this week. The song is called I Will Possess Your Heart and the CD is Narrow Stairs. So, with that little backdrop, I wasn't quite sure what we were getting ourselves into.

I would first like to point out that without really knowing exactly where we were going, we were able to find street parking less than a half block from the venue. This was of course due to my superior navigational and strategic driving talents, or perhaps dumb luck. Woohoo! It helps that it was a very early show, with doors at 5 and the show starting about 5:20. There was a VERY long line to get into the place but it moved quick once they started letting people in.

Surprisingly, once the doors opened, not that many people went up close to the stage, choosing to hang back by the bar instead. However, the place was pretty small, maybe holding 200 people at most. So everyone was pretty close. But we were right in the center and one person from the front, very nice! The band came out and did 3 songs. The first song I didn't know, the second song was a new one called Talking Bird and then they did Soul Meets Body (one of the few songs I knew, probably the band's biggest hit, and a great, great song). They then paused for a short interview with the local radio station DJ. This show will later be broadcast on the station, WXRT in Chicago. The interview kind of sucked, the DJ knew a lot about the band but didn't know much about asking meaningful questions. Anyhow, they played two more songs, Brothers on a Hotel Bed and I Will Possess Your Heart.

Overall, these guys sounded great live. I sincerely doubt that I will ever get a chance to see them again in such an intimate setting or so close to the stage. In some ways, that's a little sad since I don't know much of their music and probably didn't have a full appreciation of what I was experiencing. But, I know that I'm definitely going to check out a lot more of their music. This is definitely one of those bands the hipsters love, which kind of sucks, but whatever, I can't let that keep me from enjoying the music if I think it's good.

Shortly after the set, we were off, heading south on Lake Shore Drive, driving into town. We were off to see Flight of the Conchords. I've raved about them before so I won't bother with the superlatives to set the show up. But I will say that there was great anticipation on our part headed over to the show. After once again finding street parking (yes, I am a rock star), we cruised to the venue, Chicago Theatre, which is a great place to see a show. On the way, we stopped by for a delicioso visit to Potbelly's. Right across from the theater, the place was packed! It took a bit to get our food. But more interestingly, we had a great view of the crowd swelling around the venue. There was a line that was so long you couldn't see the end of it and a throng of people around the front entrance. People were all over the place and they were really excited. There was the cliche couple getting their picture taken with the marquee sign in the background and the better half swears that the dude jumping out of one of the cabs was comedian Eddie Izzard. We have not received positive confirmation of this.

By the time we finished eating, the line had moved and we were able to walk right in. The seats were really good, a little left of center but on the aisle and quite close. A pleasant surprise was the brief opening stand up of Arj Barker. He plays the role of Dave on the HBO series Flight of the Conchords and was quite funny. After his short opener, Bret and Jemaine came out and did a great set. They played many of the favorite songs from the show. That was ok but to me the highlights of the show included a few new songs, including one so new that Jemaine forgot the words and they had to start over. The "banter" between songs was also quite good, including a five minute reverie of Jemaine's discussing time travel acid and a discussion he had with 1970's Tina Turner and 2008 Tina Turner and Jemaine's relationship advice to the forlorn '70s version of the singer. High quality! And the guys actually stayed on stage for about 2 hours, which I suppose is pretty long for a comedy act. Wish they would have played Boom King but you can't always get what you want. As a little frame of reference for our song lyric of the day below, I will never think of rain in the same way again.

By night's end, I think I actually enjoyed the Death Cab portion of the evening even better than FOTC, which is saying something. A fun time was had by all. In closing, I will leave you with some deep and meaningful lyrics from FOTC in their final song of the evening.

Song lyric of the day: "There are angels / In the clouds / Doin' it" Angels, Flight of the Conchords

Until next time.



BT said...

Sounds like quite the doubleheader. I saw Radiohead in Charlotte a couple weeks back and, wow. I'm not even a huge fan but if you YouTube search "paranoid android charlotte" you'll know what I mean. PJ/Kings of Leon and Alison Krauss/Robert Plant continue my summer of great shows.

Ace said...

I will check that out. You're hitting some mega shows my friend, enjoy! I'm very interested to hear a report on Krauss/Plant as I've heard great things about the album...