Such Great Heights


(photo courtesy of KelleyA's Flickr page).
Despite my inability to get into the new Death Cab for Cutie album, my respect for Ben Gibbard has been steadily growing of late. It began with the discovery of his live acoustic covers of Avril Lavigne's Complicated and Cyndi Lauper's Girls Just Wanna Have Fun, both of which are brilliant. Then came the very pleasant surprise that he had decided to play a solo show at Bowery Ballroom while in town with the band to perform on Saturday Night Live. Obviously he could have easily sold out Webster Hall or Town Hall or some other equally huge and grotesque venue. But by choosing to put the quality of the show above his own financial benefit, Ben showed the kind of good judgment that is becoming tragically scarce among today's indie elite.
You may wish to ignore the following rant, which is only tangentally connected with this post:

Has anyone else noticed the ridiculous venue choices artists are making of late: Colin Meloy at Town Hall (I love the guy, but that is bullshit), Sigur Ros at Madison Square Garden (WTF?). What's next -- the Arctic Monkeys hiring Don King as their promoter and playing the Taj Mahal in Atlantic City with a pay-per-view price of $50, all just to prove they are big enough to pull it off? At some point these guys need to look themselves in the mirror and say enough is enough. Especially in New York. Belle & Sebastian are scheduled for two nights at the Nokia Theater here, but two nights at the immensely more intimate 9:30 Club in D.C. Why?

We now return you to our regularly scheduled programming...

Just as impressive as Ben's choice of venue was the show itself, which for me involved two rarities. One, I thought many of the live versions were better than their studio counterparts. Two, I did not want the show to end. Indeed, I could have stood there in that hot, crowded room for another hour and been very happy.

Here's what Ben played:

Brand New Colony
Title & Registration
You Remind Me of Home
(This Is) The Dream of Evan and Chan
Why You'd Want to Live Here
It'll Be a Breeze (Long Winters cover)
Recycled Air
Crooked Teeth
Title Track
I Hate to See You Cry (Alan Hull cover)
Farmer Chords
Look Out Here Comes Tomorrow (Monkees cover)
The Sound of Settling
Such Great Heights
I Will Follow You Into the Dark
A Lack of Color
Hold On (Spiritualized Cover)


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16/1/06 03:30  
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16/1/06 18:02  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Care to share Mr. Gibbard's Lavigne and Lauper covers? Sounds brilliant.

Just wanted to drop a note and say I love your blog. I've been lurking for a while (originally for my Pete Doherty fix..but now I'm kind of hooked.) Lovely work.


16/1/06 19:46  
Blogger Hugo said...

Thank you. That is very kind. Sorry the posts have not been more regular lately. If you email me, I will do my best to send you copies of those covers.

24/1/06 11:30  
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