They were some of the last big-time local shows before everything changed.
Less than two weeks before the pandemic sent live music to a grinding halt, hometown indie-rock heroes Death Cab for Cutie took over the Showbox last year for a run of shows to remember. The intimate three-night stand at one of Seattle’s signature clubs, which the band outgrew almost two decades ago, is now getting the live album treatment.
On Friday, Death Cab will release “Live at the Showbox,” a 17-track live record cut during those sentimental gigs, which included a cover-to-cover performance of the band’s seminal “Transatlanticism.”
“Like so many other artists, we expected to play a lot of shows in 2020,” the band said in a statement. “To gear up for the year ahead, we decided to warm up by playing an intimate, three-night stand at a venue that’s near and dear to our hearts — the Showbox in Seattle. Well, 2020 didn’t quite turn out as we had planned — but happily those three magical nights last February did, and we’re glad to say that we had them recorded.”
“Live at the Showbox” will be available for 24 hours through Bandcamp, as part of the musician-friendly platform’s “Bandcamp Fridays” when the digital music service waives its artist fees. An “official” release will come later this year, according to a news release. A portion of the Bandcamp proceeds will benefit the National Independent Venue Association (NIVA), a national coalition of independently owned clubs that formed to advocate for the embattled venues after COVID-19 closed their doors.
Death Cab’s Showbox run was a fortuitous set of makeup dates after foul weather sank a 2019 Marymoor Park show just a few songs into the band’s set. Death Cab frontman Ben Gibbard has been a vocal supporter of the “Save the Showbox” movement, aiming to spare the cherished club from a since-spiked development deal that would have razed the venue for a new high-rise.
While the Showbox was granted landmark status in 2019, the club isn’t “saved” just yet. The fight has stalled during a drawn-out process that places specific protections on landmarked buildings. Without those controls, there’s no guarantee the club or elements of it won’t be redeveloped.