Ben Gibbard Covers Stars, Rilo Kiley @ Hiro Ballroom, NYC 6/30/08

Rhapsody celebrated its new DRM-freedom by renting out Hiro and inviting Ben Gibbard to perform an acoustic set. Tough crowd — I suspect many attended for free MP3tinis — and I wouldn’t say the Death Cab frontman won them over so much as the douchebag contingent dispersed to the Ballroom perimeter after a few songs. The talent anticipated worse: “This is the exact opposite of how I expected it to be,” he said after the first few songs. “You guys are actually listening.”

Ben’s songs are so cuddly and lonely. He’s like the indie rock WALL-E. But in addition to those Death Cab For Cutie and Postal Service tunes, we got “Carolina” from the Home Volume V EP, and covers of Rilo Kiley, George Jones, and Stars’ “Your Ex-Loved Is Dead,” which I don’t think he’s performed before (watch it after the jump). Ben opened with my current favorite song from Narrow Stairs, “Cath,” which will be the album’s next single (scoop). Below, setlist, videos, and a photo of Ted Danson.

Photos by Shelby Chan.

01 “Cath”
02 “Title And Registration”
03 “Your Ex-Lover Is Dead” (Stars cover)
04 “Brand New Colony”
05 “Carolina”
06 “Grapevine Fires”
07 “Silver Lining” (Rilo Kiley cover)
08 “Photobooth”
09 “405”
10 “We Looked Like Giants”
11 “She Thinks I Still Care” (George Jones cover)
12 “I Will Follow You Into The Dark”

“Your Ex-Loved Is Dead”

“Silver Lining”

“She Thinks I Still Care”