Written by Todd Spoth
Nov 30, 2006 at 08:00 PM
ImageAfter a busy schedule caused me to miss a number of good shows this month, tonight’s show was one I refused to miss. I have seen Death Cab for Cutie probably 10 times before, at everywhere from small hole in the wall, pizza joints to more sizable venues, however tonight was a bit different. OK GO and Death Cab were scheduled to play at The Hobby Center for the Performing Arts’ beautiful Sarofim Hall.

Many of the sold out shows’ ticket holders may not have ever been to the hall before tonight, but I have photographed many events in this particular theater and it is one of the most beautiful performance halls in Houston. Its grandiose stage sees more operas, symphonies, musicals and ballets than indie bands, that 7 years prior were touring in the back of a GMC cargo van. But tonight those indie bands were nothing short of art…art that was and is every bit deserving of such surroundings.

Earlier in the year, OK GO snuck up on me with their catchy, upbeat rock and choreography, but this time I saw them coming. Since my previous run-in, they have gained notoriety, performing live on MTV and other outlets. Their live show boasted the usual, straight forward rock and roll and after about 3 songs, they brought the anxious audience out of their pricey seats and had them on their feet and singing along to their infamous hooks. They even did their ELO cover.

What surprised and wow’d me the most was the visuals. In keeping with their stand-out from the pack ways, each of the mic stands was wired with tiny remote cameras. The footage was broadcast in real time via a huge projection screen behind the band. When feeds from the live stage-cams were not shown, they were replaced by stunning wallpaper samples and incredible HD clips. They had me fixated on the screen, in a quasi-subliminal trance. When I finally snapped out of my abstraction, I noticed that the band had broken into their choreographed number to their hit “A Million Ways”. Even though I’ve seen it performed a few times before, it’s still great to witness. They didn’t bring the treadmills, but they worked with what they did bring…rock and roll.

There’s really not much I can say about Death Cab for Cutie. I have followed them from their humble roots to tonight’s sold out performance at an opera hall. They still are one of my favorite bands and to this day I get chills when I hear certain songs. On their second tour after releasing “Plans”, Death Cab has managed to blend a considerable amount of older tunes in with their newer hits, which makes me a very happy boy. And I admit, I was skeptical about the show at this venue, but from the very first second Ben and the guys took the stage, everyone was on their feet. Every seat in the 2500+ concert hall was filled with fans singing along and having a great time. The stage lighting was simple, but some of the best I have seen.  This group is truly a wonder live and the musicianship of its members is breathtaking. -Todd Spoth (www.toddspoth.com)