Death Cab for Cutie and Franz Ferdinand
Comprised of three working-class English accents stomping andsweating around the stage, The Cribs opened and provoked no more reaction from the haughty hipstersthan an occasional surly foot tap. They powered through their set, though, dressed in tight pantsand even tighter shirts.
When they finally got some people dancing during “HeyScenesters,” it was pretty funny because the one song that got the hipsters shaking theirpainstakingly styled hair was, in fact, making fun of them. The Cribs weren’t exactlyterrible, but they did provide a chance to go out and buy everything from a life on the roaddocumentary of Death Cab to Franz Ferdinand underwear.
The time between the opener and theheadliner was the best time for people watching. I had fun studying the tight-trousered, sexuallyambiguous scenesters clustered in tight groups, excitedly bouncing on the soles of their perfectlybroken-in Converses. There was also a surprising number of 30 and 40-somethings, but the mostentertaining bunch to watch was a group of teenage boys wearing the hipster uniform but lacking thenecessary gloomy sense of pretension – they were tripping the light fantastic with some moves thatlooked left over from “Footloose,” oblivious to anyone else who didn’t sharetheir fancy-footed skills.
Then Death Cab for Cutie descended onto the stage andkicked things off with a hyper (well, hyper for them) “Crooked Teeth,” then segued intoan exhilarating “New Year,” and greeted the crowd with a cheerfully modest, “Hi,we’re called Death Cab for Cutie and we’re from Seattle. We’re so (expletive)glad to be in Sacramento. This is our sixth time here. It’s better now.” They thenannounced that they were going to play something from “You Can Play These Songs WithChords,” a move that was greeted with widespread applause.
Throughout their set,they dipped into “Transatlanticism,” playing many favorites including “Title andRegistration,” “The Sound of Settling” and “Transatlanticism.” Mostof “Plans” was also played, most notably, a tender “I Will Follow You Into theDark.”
The great thing about Death Cab was that they seemed really jazzed to bethere. There was no snobbish indie-band-turned-big attitude; they threw themselves into theirperformance in the low-key rock out that they do so well. Chris Walla seemed especially happy,flitting from guitar to keyboard, wearing a huge grin and quietly trading jokes with Nick Harmer.Before leaving, Ben Gibbard shared how great it was to be touring with The Cribs and FranzFerdinand and even dedicated songs to them.
Franz Ferdinand arrived on stage in a flurry ofsmoke, blinding lights and their album cover flashing behind them. What I gleaned from theirperformance is that Alex Kapronos would be a fantastic circus ringmaster if he ever gave up theindie-rock circuit. He delivered hilarious, super-fast, auctioneer-style introductions of everyonein his band, and spouted clever lead-ins for some of the songs.
Dressed in a leather jacketand straight-legged pinstriped trousers, he resembled Sid Vicious with less anger and more style,and, as he artfully skipped and strutted around the stage, he sent many a girl’s heart apitter-pattering. Franz F. got everyone moving with a sweaty mix of their most danceable tracksfrom their two albums. The highlights were Kapronos gleefully proclaiming, “Nothing mattersnow!” during “Michael,” an explosive “Take Me Out,” and three peopledrumming at the same time during “This Boy.”
The concert was a perfectcombination of very different bands. It was like getting two great concerts in one, and it wasinteresting to see the different reactions they got: Death Cab fans intensely nodded along to BenGibbard’s sa-woon worthy lyrical feats, while Franz Ferdinand got the normally unflappablecool kids sweaty with dance punk joy.