Gibbard plays the Pabst

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Ben Gibbard, leading man of Death Cab for Cutie and The Postal Service has been playing a variety of special solo acts around the nation, one of the shows being at the Pabst Theater in Milwaukee. Given that Gibbard only has one solo record, his music writing and playing career is prominent throughout his other acts.

The show started with the opening act of Julien Baker. Baker is a young woman from Tennessee who used to play in the band Forrister. She now tours with Gibbard as a solo act.

Julien’s ambient guitar playing and soft voice was like a lullabye in the halls of the Pabst Theatre. She has a unique sound. Much like The Xx and other ambient rock artists, Baker plays these raw guitar riffs that send chills deep within its listeners core. Her soft spoken voice contrasts with the powerful messages and themes in her lyrics. She is a real interesting act to see.

After Baker left the stage there was a ten minute break before Gibbard made his appearance to the stage. There were two acoustic guitars and a piano waiting to be played by him. He started out the show with the song “Photobooth,” one of his earliest songs. He then continued to play a various array of songs from Death Cab for Cutie’s older albums.

Gibbard emphasized the fault he and his bands usually make during live shows, “Usually when you see a live band they are guilty of playing their songs too fast. I know we have done that a lot,” Gibbard explains. “That’s why I like these solo shows. I tend to play the songs a lot slower.”

It was an intimate concert. The whole crowd remained seated and laid back. Gibbard gave short little anecdotes about his songs before playing them. The audience really got to look inside of the life of Ben Gibbard. Just from a few of his stories you could tell he is a down-to-earth person.

Within the past year, Gibbard wrote a song for The Monkeys. He stated before his performance of “Me and Magdalena” that the Monkeys were one of his favorite bands not just as a kid but even today he still appreciates their music.

It was interesting hearing that Ben Gibbard had written a song for such an iconic band. Especially a band that he really looked up to and admired. It was short anecdotes such as that one that showed Gibbard’s true personality.

By the time the show had ended the crowd had been mesmerized by Gibbard’s charm and talent. He was a true delight to see in person.

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