Thursday, April 9, 2009

Sometimes You Just Gotta Hit the Road

Now that Richmond has a mid-sized venue of its own, I have far fewer reasons to drive to Washington, Norfolk or Charlottesville for shows as I've done for years. But every now and then a tour completely skips us and then I have to seek it out. Like last night's trip to D.A.R. Constitution Hall to see Death Cab for Cutie and RaRa Riot (and Cold War Kids, but they held no interest for me).

And much as I hate I-95, the schlep was well worth the traffic because it was an excellent show. RaRa Riot came on at 6:57 and played a stellar 30 minute set. I absolutely love what having a cello and violin brings to the sound of this Syracuse band. I hope to see them headline soon so I can enjoy a longer set.

What can you say about Death Cab? They've been together for 12 years now and they do what they do extremely well. And that's play melodic, melancholy songs about feeling both smart and confused, hopelessly romantic but wary of love (as Rolling Stone put it). It's the hopelessly romantic and smart part of their lyric-writing that grabs me every time , so I found it in contrast to Ben Gibbard's energetic singing and guitar playing. Never having seen the band before, I expected his performance to be far more low-key than it was. But in reality, he was sort of like the geeky guy who secretly wants to be an arena rock star but with that plaintive, yet evocative, voice.

The entire show was over by 10:30 (D.A.R. is so civilized like that) so we hit the road with the strains of DCFC still in our ears. This was a show well worth dealing with the soul-sucking I-95 for. And I mean that in the most sincere and hopelessly romantic way.

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