Death Cab for Cutie

Roots Stage, Downsview Park, Toronto ON, September 7

Death Cab for CutieRoots Stage, Downsview Park, Toronto ON, September 7
Photo: Stephen McGill
For the largest crowd yet gathered at the festival's Roots Stage — the throng stretched long past the sound booth — Seattle's Death Cab for Cutie played their penultimate show with soon-to-be departed guitarist and band co-founder Chris Walla. These last few must surely be emotional shows for Walla, but if that's the case, nobody in the band let on.

They began with Narrow Stairs' "I Will Possess Your Heart," which sounds even more emphatic and propulsive live than on record, then followed with "Crooked Teeth" and oldie "We Laugh Indoors," both of which showcased Death Cab's excellent, unheralded rhythm section, Nick Harmer (bass) and Jason McGerr (drums).

Their set was composed mostly of songs from their three latest records: "Doors Unlocked and Open," "Long Division," "You Are a Tourist" and "Cath" all made the cut, and fans waved enthusiastically along to "Grapevine Fires," especially, showing just how many fans were at Riot Fest specifically to see the band.

Longtime fans hoping for older fare might have been slightly disappointed, as only "Title Track," "We Laugh Indoors" and stirring renditions of "The New Year" and "The Sound of Settling" were included from their first four albums. Still, the band sounded great, and it was a good set, even if the band weren't, as Ben Gibbard glibly noted, "the punkest motherfuckers at this festival."

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