Outdoor venues are always a bit of a risk for music fans. Some nights can turn into wet, uncomfortable events that can dampen an enjoyable show (*cough* Florence + the Machine at Blossom *cough*). Fortunately for fans of Death Cab for Cutie, CHVRCHES, and Pure Bathing Culture, Cleveland was treated to a gorgeous night when the bands visited Jacobs Pavilion at Nautica Tuesday, June 8.
The Cleveland audience wasn’t the only people enjoying the beautiful weather by the riverside. CHVRCHES frontwoman Lauren Mayberry took a break between shimmering pop jams to comment on how lovely the open-air venue was, as the show was a rare opportunity to bask in the sun for the native Glaswegians. She then resumed to her duties of owning the stage, commanding the attention of the crowd as she and her bandmates churned out tracks from 2013’s The Bones of What We Believe and latest album Every Open Eye.
The Scottish synthpop trio did a fine job turning the venue into a thumping dance party, as even those in the bleachers could feel the reverberations from the thudding bass in their seats. The set list was like dipping into a stash of sweets: a sugary sweet rush that left you pretty excitable. As the warm sun began to set, CHVRCHES turned the stage over to their fellow headliners, although the electronic jams stuck in the heads of the crowd until the members of Death Cab took the respective places.
While Death Cab has been around since the ’90s, the band’s set was unsurprisingly heavy with tracks from the past decade, including four from the band’s latest album Kintsugi. A few older tracks made their way into the set, as “Photobooth” from the Forbidden Love EP was met with excitement, while the older (read: 20- and 30-somethings in the crowd) immediately felt ancient when a fair number of teenagers at the show openly commented that they had never heard 1998’s “President of What?.”
While the latest tracks were met with applause, the crowd really threw its support behind a slew of beloved Death Cab tracks from the early- to mid-2000s, including “The New Year” and “Cath…” LeBron even got a shout out as main Death Cab driver Ben Gibbard dedicated the fan favorite “I Will Follow You into the Dark.” All in all, the band played songs that fans wanted to hear and the fans in the audience were more than happy to hear them.
While Death Cab pumped out a steady list of fan favorites, the band saved a pair of show highlights for the end. Overall, the band played each song fairly straightforward, not deviating too much from the well-known recorded versions that fans endeared themselves to over the years. However, the band turned things up a notch with set closer “Bixby Canyon Bridge,” adding even more grit and distortion to the track to impressive effect.
While “Bixby” wowed, encore closer “Transatlanticism” absolutely stunned, with a slight assist to the Jacobs Pavilion setting. As the eight-minute track washed over the crowd, everything seemed to tie together. The crowd lulling together as the song progressively grew bigger and bigger, the gorgeous view of the pale orange lighting reflecting on the ripples of the river behind the stage, and the sight of a veteran band creating a special moment for its fans all tied together into a single song, a reminder of how powerful a force Death Cab’s music was for many of the people gathered at Jacobs Pavilion that night.