Last weekend, Death Cab For Cutie frontman and Postal Service principal Benjamin Gibbard ventured to my favorite little club on Chicago's North side, Schubas. I was one of the many people in audience who had also seen Ben with the Postal Service a few months earlier, as was evident by the hoots and hollers that followed after Ben asked who had attended his previous gig in Chicagoland. As with the vast majority of shows at Schubas, a great percentage of the crowd were actually fans of the music and not just people hanging out at their neighborhood bar (which tends to happen). While Ben played, the crowd listened. You could almost hear a pin drop if he paused for a brief moment.
Throughout the night, Ben Gibbard treated the mesh-hatted hipsters to a variety of tantalizing acoustic tunes. He played quite a few songs from the forthcoming Death Cab album, Transatlanticism, including "Title & Registration" and "We Looked Like Giants," as well as "You Remind Me Of Home," a song culled from a split 7" with American Analog Set's Andrew Kenny released earlier this year. Gibbard even attempted a pair of Postal Service tunes. For the most part, the songs were indistinguishable until Ben's signature vocals were applied, but it was incredibly interesting to see "Such Great Heights" and "Brand New Colony" in their most basic, stripped down form. The last time I saw the musician, I was too far away to see his guitar work, but he is a wildly talented guitarist, as well as an innovative vocalist and lyricist (the latter two which are clear from his extensive body of work). The ability to paint a picture with words is an uncommon talent. Mix that with Ben's undeniable melodic genius and the fact that he's standing 10 feet from you, and it makes for quite an evening.