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After a five year hiatus from playing live for their Houston, Texas devotees, the Ben Gibbard-fronted alt-indie-pop quartet returned to the Bayou City to deliver one of the best shows of the year...and quite possibly of the band's nearly twenty year career.

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Death Cab For Cutie * Revention Music Center * Houston, Texas * September 13, 2016

Earl Dittman

It felt like an eternity since the last time Death Cab For Cutie performed in Houston (October 2011 to be exact). Needless to say, anticipation was incredibly high amongst longtime fans of the indie-pop band from Washington state. "I wonder if they are as gonna be as good as they used to be or are they just gonna go through the motions and suck?" I overheard an obvious DCFC devotee (who was donning a five-year-old t-shirt from the band's "Keys and Codes Tour") remark to his pal minutes before the Ben Gibbard-fronted group hit the Revention Music Center stage.

Thirty seconds into the show's opener, "No Room in Frame" (from their latest album Kintsugi), it was obvious to every attendee of the nearly sold-out crowd that Death Cab For Cutie were back to prove that the passage of time (20 years) has transformed them into one of the most impressive live acts on the road today. And, by the end of the two-hour, 22-song concert, DCFC aptly demonstrated the five year wait was more than worth it. Death Cab For Cutie delivered a high-energy, stunningly sublime and nearly-flawless performance that Houston music lovers will recall for years to come.

Playing only a handful of songs from 2015's Kintsugi - "Black Sun," "The Ghosts of Beverly Drive," "Little Wanderer," You've Haunted Me All My Life," "El Dorado and the abovementioned opener - DCFC spent the rest of the evening satisfying both their faithful followers with a few lesser known tracks ("President of What" from 1998 album Something About Airplanes and "Company Calls from 2000's We Have The Facts And We're Voting Yes) and their newly-minted fans with such hits "Soul Meets Body," "I Will Posses Your Heart" and their anthemic "I Will Follow You Into The Dark," a song which had practically every audience member in the Revention Music Center enthusiastically and loudly singing along with Gibbard.

Throughout the evening, DCFC founder Gibbard waxed philosophical about subjects that included everything from the band's earlier visits to Houston to getting older. He also made an impassioned plea for everyone to go out and vote in the upcoming presidential election. "When you vote, don't do it out of anger," Gibbard said. "Everybody is talking about how angry and mad they are. No one has ever made a good decision while they're are angry, though. It's not like any of us have said, 'I was furious, so I made that decision and it was the right decision.' So, be smart and just get out there and vote."

DCFC closed their set with a blistering performance of "Bixby Canyon Bridge" (from Narrow Stairs.) After leaving the stage (for less than a minute) to thunderous applause, Death Cab For Cutie returned for three encores that completely blew away the crowd. They pumped out jaw-dropping renditions of "Title Track" (We Have...), "A Movie Script Ending" (The Photo Album) and the title track from 2003's Transatlanticism.

After the concert, I happened to run into the abovementioned DCFC fan (who was initially skeptical DCFC might not be the band he once used love seeing live). I asked him what he thought of the concert. Clearly awestruck by what he had just witnessed, he replied, "Dude, it's the best I've ever seen them, they are... they are rock gods!"

I would have to ardently agree.

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