Gig Review: Death Cab For Cutie, Manchester Apollo, 16th July 2008

Unless Death Cab For Cutie amaze us with some future album, tonight’s gig was the last time I will ever pay money to see them play live. Never mind that the new album has all the depth of a wading pool, is bland, full of soppy love songs lacking the quirky lyricism of albums past and all blends together, DCFC crowds have simply become unbearable.

Gigs at the Apollo, 90% of the time anyway, are bad enough, but tonight it was be there to be seen, not be there to hear a band. The four people stood in front of us really took the biscuit, however. To be fair, I was not in the mood to be in a crowd of people. T in the Park was amazing last weekend but it wore me out and I could do with a week of being by myself (except maybe for The Ledge). Neither The Ledge nor I was looking forward to this so we got down there late and stayed in the bar until the band were coming on stage when we made our way into the edge of the crowd where we could see but not get jostled. The first five songs were really good too. Then the talking started.

I won’t make out that it was just the people in front of us because it wasn’t. There was talking. And there was more talking. And even more talking. Where the last time we saw Death Cab I was bemused and disturbed that the average age of the crowd was around 16 yet they knew all the words to everything, this time the crowd knew a few tracks off Plans and not much else. The talking just went on and on. Not that The Ledge and I were silent, but we did keep it to between songs – I’d hate to spoil somebody else’s enjoyment of a gig just because I was not enjoying it myself.

When they started to play “Soul Meets Body,” however, the young blonde thing in front of us suddenly started squealing like a Westlife fan – “I know this one!” she screamed as loudly as she could, squealed a few more times and then talked through the rest of it. “Nice,” we though, “This is a good song.” Then they played “I Will Follow You Into the Dark. “OMG!” she screamed. “I’m so going to cry over this!” Then she hugged her boyfriend and talked through the rest. She wasn’t the only one. Half the crowd sang along, half talked along.

For the rest of the gig we had four people in front of us moving about constantly so I kept having to move to see and loads of yapping, squealing and jumping – none of which was remotely in response to the band. Why they didn’t decamp to the bar is beyond me as all four of them were pretty much behaving as if they were in a pub, not at a show for which the people around them had all paid around £20 a ticket.

During the encore, one of them rolled two cigarettes and made to light up. I’d had enough by this point and I leaned over and told her not to do it. She responded with “Ooh I was only joking! I know not to! Sorry!.” Yeah, ok, whatever.

So as the band were finishing their final song she walks over and leans in and says to me “I just wanted to apologise for making you think I was going to smoke cause i wasn’t.”

“That’s fine, so long as you didn’t.” I told her. “What you should be apologising for, however, is ruining our ability to hear the gig because you talked through the entire thing which is incredibly rude to be honest.”

A bit brutal, I know, but not deserving of the response I got. Oh yes, this little madam proceeded to tell me that she was not going to apologise for talking LOUDLY through the entire performance because she was – wait for it – bored. She didn’t care, it seems, that other people may not have been bored, and when I pointed out that I’d paid to hear the boring band – not her and her friends – I received a tirade about how I have “issues” and I am a seriously anti-social individual – all for wanting to hear the band.

Now, fair dues, I do have issues. And I do get annoyed easily in crowds. But, that’s still no excuse for someone to assume that just because they don’t want to watch something nobody cares. It’s no excuse for behaving like a total yahoo and yapping and squealing and stopping other people from getting to experience what they paid for – good or bad.

If you think the gig is shite and you want to talk – go to the bar.

I’m simply not standing for this anymore. It happened through all of Radiohead the other week and it happens nearly every time we’re not at the barrier at the Apollo. From now on, if you talk, you will hear about how much you’re pissing me off. It probably won’t do any good, but if it makes one person think about the people around them I will have won a small victory.

Gig-goers – help me out. Stop allowing people to behave like fucktards and stop being too scared to stand up for yourselves. If somebody is doing something you wouldn’t do because you know it’s annoying – TELL THEM! And if they don’t stop, tripping while walking back to your spot holding a full pint is pretty good revenge….

17 Responses to “Gig Review: Death Cab For Cutie, Manchester Apollo, 16th July 2008”

  • Peter Says:

    bring it on! totally agree with you, talking whilst the band is playing totally annoys me and is normally greeted by a nasty stare from me

  • Agnes Says:

    Personally I reckon you were waaaaayyy too tolerant! There’s no way I woulda been able to keep quiet about that. What a pack of eejits. Not cool at all. My other pet gig hate is people who feel the need to do that stupid bloody pogo thing. I’ve gone home with sore feet and (I’m sure I’m not exaggerating!) what may have even been a bruised kidney from a wayward elbow. And I wanna hit that girl you describe. What a cow.

  • fightoffyour Says:

    fair point about the talking if it affected you but this is not a gig review.

    i didn’t notice any overly loud talking as i was more concerned with how unbelievably good death cab were.

    best gig i’ve been to since…death cab last time.

  • beth Says:

    We were lucky then! We were at the barrier, with the people who knew all the words to everything and didn’t get bored … although I would’ve preferred it if they could’ve just showed a bit of self-restraint through ‘I will follow you…”

    (I though Death Cab were good, but a bit disengaged.)

  • Zoe Wolff Says:

    SNAP! me and my boyfriend had the same problem. we had a group of about 4 girls infront of us jumping and squealing all the way through which pissed me off royally. same happened with radiohead with some blonde plank with huge sunglasses talking and laughing all he way through the gig. she was especially loud throughout the pyramid song which majorly wound my boyfriend up as its one of his favourites. I ended up having a big go at her between songs and pretty much got the same response that you did!

    i cant stand people who seem intent on ruining a gig for others and maybe i shouldnt get so angry about it…but im really going to start punching the back of peoples heads at gigs if they cant sodding well shut up!

  • beth Says:

    How about if they were to start having ‘talking’ and ‘non-talking’ areas? So those of us who want to listen to the band can – shock – hear the band, and those who want to talk can talk.

    To make it perfectly clear which was which I’d call the ‘talking area’ oohhh, I dunno… ‘The Bar’?

  • JustHipper Says:

    I’d call it THE STREET personally but The Bar will work too.

    Seriously though, even without the talking, after the first 5 or 6 songs it just meandered. Going to see them live the last time got me into “Plans.” Seeing the stuff from “Narrow Stairs” done live simply made me dislike it rather than feel slightly disappointed. It’s a shame because the older songs sounded great, there just weren’t enough of them to keep me from wanting to have a nap.

  • The Ledge Says:

    Beth, you must have felt pretty old up there, unless there were plenty of mums and dads with you.

    fightoffyour, you’re right, it’s not much of a review but JustHipper was fuming when she got home and had to get her feelings down while she was still in the mood. I pretty much agree with everything she said. We weren’t particularly looking forward to it on the back of the rather dull new album but it started off really promisingly with “Why You’d Want To Live Here”, “Crooked Teeth” and “Long Division” (easily the best thing on Narrow Stairs). It got progressively boring after that with plenty of stuff off the new album and the similarly bland Plans, though “I Will Possess Your Heart” and “A Movie Script Ending” were very good. The encore wasn’t exactly spectacular either – we were holding out for “Photobooth” but I guess they’ve left that behind along with much of their more idiosyncratic and interesting pre-Transatlanticism stuff.

    It amazes me how the band can get more popular with The Kids the more insipid and inoffensive they get. Whatever happened to teen rebellion? Or have things come full circle and they are rebelling against their parents’ love for Joy Division?

    I spent the less interesting sections of the gig trying to ignore the antics of the two annoying girls in front of us (which wasn’t too difficult for me as, unlike JustHipper, I’m a good head taller than them and had a good view of the stage) and wondering how the hell Ben Gibbard managed to lose 20 stone and turn into a young Sid Griffin.

  • JustHipper Says:

    Beth, I’d take offense. I think the old dinosaur hunter just called you old :P.

  • Tim Says:

    There must have been a couple of stone of sweat on/in Ben’s shirt by the end of the show. Positively minging.

    I love the records and the songs are exquisite, but live DCFC seem pretty soulless to me. Maybe the sheer size of the audiences just doesn’t allow for much personality. I was hoping for a quirky cover version, a little nod of thanks in the direction of the music fans rather than the people just there to hang out with their mates. I dunno, you want your fave bands to be successful and this is what you get.

    I like the new album well enough, but it doesn’t have that persistent melancholy thread which runs so strongly through previous ones. Would have been better if it was sadder.

  • beth Says:

    JustHipper – I can’t really take offense when it’s true! We had TheOlderBoy with us & I think even HE felt old…..

    Ledge – that reminds me, when they came out we were wondering who the guy on the left was and what he’d done with Ben!

  • JustHipper Says:

    I didn’t recognise Ben Gibbard either. I mean, he no longer looks like he ate Colin Meloy and in doing so took on his appearance.

  • Dave Brown Says:

    I personally think I should be able to vet anyone who goes to a gig i do. If they look like talkers, they can piss off.

    Nice to see you’re still on form 🙂

  • JustHipper Says:

    Still on form? My form never left! You going to the States in September? So gutted I can’t manage it!

  • Daniel Says:

    Funny review.

    It was my first time seeing DCFC and I’d actually come over from Jersey with my then-girlfriend to catch the show and see some relatives.

    What struck me was how many try-hard indie kids were there and how many Ben Gibbard lookalikes were in the audience! The ex and I were by the PA control booth, surrounded by people who didn’t pipe up until they heard something from Plans. In all, I thought the crowd was pretty muted in terms of getting into it, but then the band are hardly the most animated (apart from Nick) and maybe everyone needed something to feed off.

    Was pleased that they played Company Calls Epilogue, as it’s one of my favourites. Was disappointed that more stuff from We Have The Facts…. and Photobooth wasn’t played but on the whole I thought it was a pretty solid gig.

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