What: Concert Review
Who: The Head & The Heart & Death Cab for Cutie
When: Friday, May 23, 2014
Why: Cmac's first show of the summer
You know it's summertime when people flock to CMAC, an outdoor music amphitheater located on the nest of Canandaigua Lake in Upstate New York. A chance of rain, cool temperatures and overcast grey clouds didn't stop CMAC from kicking off its summer season with three amazing alternative indie rock bands from the pacific northwest. Both the Head & The Heart and Death Cab for Cutie are from the same town, Seattle, Washington, and it was a surprising turnout at CMAC to see how many fans they have on the East Coast. The Head & The Heart performed exceptionally well, much better than Death Cab for Cutie.
The Head & The Heart opened up the stage after infamous indie rockers Built to Spill charmed the crowd at CMAC as opening act. You could tell there were many people in the crowd wanting to hear and see the upcoming folk rock group possibly even more than Death Cab. The band sounded excellent. Every instrument worked and you can hear each of the six members exceptionally well, especially the vocals. Each song they performed seemed better than the last one. Violinist, guitarist and singer Charity Rose Thielen proved to be a powerful force in the band. She was charming and had that Tom Boy feel to her, her style blending in well with the other male members of the group. It's always nice hearing that male female combination in a band. Charity was much more dominant live than on the bands albums as well. The group did a great job on 'Rivers & Roads' which may have been the best song they performed live. The Head & The Heart also did a great job on harmonies, especially nearing the end of the show where they pleased the satisfied crowd.
The crowd at CMAC this time around was mostly younger people both male and female, although a few older folks jammed in the venue as well. It was surprisingly well filled for the three west coast bands who performed last night, proving that they have a following all the way across the map. The bands were very grateful and respectful for one another much more than other shows this year, as each of them proclaimed they wanted to see the other band and were excited for their performance. It was the first time the three bands performed together in many years, and that created a vibe in itself. It was also Death Cab for Cutie's first concert since last September when they headlined a popular Seattle festival in their hometown.
Death Cab for Cutie came on stage right on time, but even during the beginning of their set, you could tell something was off. While it was loud and you could hear mostly everyone in the band well, the lead front man's main guitar had messed up early on in the show and that of course made the group sound off, as well as other things. Some people in the crowd dance and seemed to enjoy it for the most part, but Death Cab for Cutie didn't have the connection that the opening band had. The group also seemed to not care too much of performing at the venue, although they did acknowledge it was 'nice to feel a little home' all the way in New York State with the combination of Northwest bands performing that night. Their instruments didn't flow together as well as the Head and The Hearts did, either and they were a bit off centered on several songs. However, the band was trying hard and the lead singer and guitarist seemed to be into it enough to satisfy most of the crowd.
Overall, Death Cab for Cutie's performance was enjoyable and danceable at times, especially when they played well known songs Cathe and Soul Meets Body, but their stage presence was lacking and the sound wasn't near as good as the opening band. The concert as a whole was worth going to, and the Head and The Heart by far made up for what Death Cab for Cutie lacked. Death Cab for Cutie is one of those bands who are really great or not so good live, but at least they gave Upstate NY and Canandaigua a chance to see them and an extra long performance that was around 1 hour and 45 minutes last night to start off the 2014 summer concert season.
Head & The Heart: 4 out of 5 stars
Death Cab: 2.5 or 3 out of 5 Stars
Photos Coming Soon!
1) I will Possess Your Heart
2) Crooked Teeth
3) Why You'd Want to Live Here
4) Title and Registration
5) For What Reason
6) Codes & Keys
7) Doors Unlocked and Open
8) Long Division
9) Grapevine Fires
10) I will Follow you into the Dark
11) All is Full of Love (Bjork Cover)
12) You are a Tourist
13) The New Year
15) Soul Meets Body
16) The Sound of Settling
18) Your Heart is an Empty Room
19) A Movie Script Ending
20) Marching Bands of Manhattan
Photos by Leo Pareti: