Death Cab For Cutie – The Night I Turned 14 Again

-by Hannah Nissen

I was nine years old when Transatlanticism came out. At the age of nine, it’s hard to imagine being angsty. But sure enough, soon after the days of fruit time and lap-a-thons, I transformed into a beautifully misunderstood, angsty teen with an emotional spectrum as vast as my passion for Cotton On. The days where mum saying no when I asked her to go to a party was quite literally the. End. Of. The. World. The days where my first boyfriend of two weeks broke up with me after pretty much communicating only via MSN, and I swore I would never love another boy again. The days where all these feels were just coming out of nowhere, and I had nowhere to hide them but in my own salty, confused tears. Those were the days. If only I had known that I was actually as free as the hormones that raged rampant from my DIY’ed sidefringe to my blue Etnies.

Last Thursday night Death Cab For Cutie took me back. They translated the mysteriously sticky and equally mysterious foot smell that dwelled within Metro’s, back to the carefree, and yet somehow-still-angsty days of being a teen. And after almost two decades playing together, it was clear to see why.

Opening for Death Cab was the curious Say Hi – or Eric Elbogen. To be completely honest about good ol’ Eric, we came in late and spent about 10 mins looking on in utter confusion. What is sad, is that looking at his music online, he actually has written some great tunes. He just has that indie-rock voice that can sometimes be confused as a drunk-depressed-man-whose-just-been-left-by-his-wife-and-found-himself-in-a-karaoke-bar kind of vibe. And although he has some really great songs out, in the live atmosphere, with no support but a little synth machine, he just kind of looked like someone gave a drunk businessmen passing by the microphone.

By the time Death Cab finally graced the stage there was ironically already a very blue theme. Blue lights, all wearing blue clothes and generically cool, alternative-American nonchalant d0wn looking faces. Kicking off with the song ‘No Room In Frame’ off this years album Kintsugi, and moving into a personal favorite ‘Crooked Teeth.’ Although a seemingly upbeat song, the trapped analogy spoke just as deeply to me now, as it did when I was woefully forced to go to high school, and Ben Gibbard’s strong voice has not dwindled in the slightest, even though I was always only listening to it on cd. His pitch, tone, and delivery, is just exactly the same.

Playing through some olds and some news, the only thing I found difficult during the whole set was deciding just how much to kind of dance/kind of shuffle/kind of just hopelessly move my arms from side to side. Eventually, I realized I just didn’t care enough and was the annoying mosh chick to almost every song, even the slow ones. Besides ‘What Sarah Said.’

As Gibbard jumped behind the piano I actually had to stop moving, in fear of floating away. I remembered how this music, that almost entices feeling depressed, allows us to feel, and I felt. In abundance. And I realized how nice it was to just do that, for the sake of it. As ‘Kath’ grew into ‘Soul Meets Body,’ which then grew into ‘I Will Possess Your Heart,’ I realized how nice it was, even if you don’t have a care in the world, to sometimes put everything on hold and just feel the world. In its entirety.

Although I’m not saying we should all embrace the adolescent naivety of getting sad about nothing. What I mean to say, is sometimes it’s nice to be reminded that sadness can be felt, wholeheartedly, and that it doesn’t necessarily mean it is the end of the world. I think as an adult, a lot of stigma surrounds being sad, so much so that we are all almost afraid of it. But that feeling, of looking up at an incredible act that you have always wanted to see, as they drain melancholy tears(figuratively….of course)  from your face with songs of heartbreak and sadness, as they stand on a stage after two decades of playing together. These things snap us back to reality, and show us, that in this life there are just so many feels. And sometimes in order to feel great happiness, we must also accept that great sadness will surely ensue. And that’s not naive, or selfish, or even unusual. That’s just the way the world works. And having Death Cab For Cutie help see me through these times at 21, as well as through my teenage faux-emo/angsty years. Well, it just goes to show that life will always continue to go on.


If you just give it a chance.


Photo Credit: Chris Kerr

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