Death Cab For Cutie Share Recording Of Their First Show 20 Years Ago Today

Aspiring musicians take note: Record and save everything you do because you never know when your humble DIY band will go on to become one of the most beloved and influential projects in indie rock history. Given the younger generation’s widespread inclination toward self-documentation, maybe this goes without saying, but it certainly was not the case back in 1997 when Death Cab For Cutie were getting off the ground. Fortunately, Death Cab’s friend Trevor Adams had the foresight to record their first ever concert 20 years ago today, a recording the band has made available at Bandcamp this morning. That’s the flier up above.

The acoustic gig at the Pacer House in Bellingham, Washington featured several songs that appeared on Death Cab’s early demo You Can Play These Songs With Chords and later on their 1998 debut album Something About Airplanes. Ben Gibbard explains it all:

This is a recording of the first ever Death Cab for Cutie show. It was made by our friend Trevor Adams on his dictaphone at The Pacer House in Bellingham, Washington on November 22, 1997. Sprawled across couches and sitting crosslegged on the floor were 25 of our closest friends and fellow musicians. Everyone played acoustic or semi-acoustic with no PA. Trevor made and passed bowl after bowl of microwave popcorn because he was (and I assume still is) a great host.

Chris Walla and I had just finished the You Can Play These Songs with Chords cassette and we thought it would be fun to play a few shows around Bellingham to celebrate the release. We recruited Nick Harmer to play bass and Walla’s childhood friend Nathan Good to play drums. None of us thought we were starting a band nor did our ambitions for DCfC extend very far past this particular evening. We simply thought it would be fun to play these songs for our friends before moving on to other things.

I remain forever grateful to Trevor for inviting us to play in his living room 20 years ago today. It was one of the greatest nights of my life at the time and its significance has only grown since.

Benjamin Gibbard
Death Cab for Cutie
November 22, 2017

Listen to the performance below, and purchase it for $4 or more at Bandcamp. All proceeds benefit Seattle nonprofit The Aurora Commons.

As for Death Cab’s future pursuits, it appears we can expect a new album next year, their first recorded without Chris Walla: