WOAH Fest – Death Cab for Cutie


by Reuben Dhanaraj

Death Cab for Cutie (DCFC) might sound more like the title for a horror film than a name of a band. Yet, to the many of us who grew with the evolution of the indie scene through the 21st century, DCFC is no ordinary band. In fact, to all the fans around the world, this is a band that is almost a religion.

A humid Monday night was barely an obstacle, as hoards of die-hard fans turned up at The Hark Rock Hotel’s Coliseum (Resorts World Sentosa) to witness the American alternative rock band performing live in the Lion City for only the third time since their formation in 1997. The event kicked off with local indie band, Take Two taking to (pun totally intended) the stage in charismatic fashion. The ground-rumbling beats emitted from the speakers overhead were but a shadow of things to come. While the band played in the background, the audience mingled with friends and new found acquaintances, with some fiddling with their drinks – a curious mix of nervousness and anticipation as their idols fervently prepared backstage for their set.

Before long, Take Two hopped off stage, paving the way for the night’s headliner. As the lights dimmed, the crowd hushed… and then there was absolute mayhem. The stuffy night got stuffier as people got to their feet, and the beats got louder, but nobody seemed to mind. The band began with tunes from a fresh hit – No Room in Frame, and despite everyone’s mutual unfamiliarity with the recently released song, the crowd jigged and swayed to the tune in good sport. It was an entirely different matter however when the band followed up with their all-time favourites – Crooked Teeth and Photobooth. All around, people were moving to the groove and it was honestly hard not to get into the spirit of things.

Yet, as is always somehow the case when everything seems to be looking up, disaster struck. In a moment of madness, lead singer Ben Gibbard threw his guitar pick into the crowd – probably in a moment of rashness as the next moment, flabbergasted, he desperately tried to hit the strings with his bare fingers, but it was to no avail, as the strings simply would not sound over the tremendous crash of the drums and bass. As the crowd began to catch on to the issue and turmoil looked to be on the cards, the veteran’s years of performance jumped to his rescue as in an absolute stroke of ingenuity, Ben threw his guitar down, jumped onto the keyboard behind him and began smashing away at the keys, not a second missing a single beat. The fluidity of his actions brought rousing applause all around, and it was deservedly so to say the least. 

DCFC soon highlighted the impending end that was to come and with the tugging rhythms of another one of their hits, Bixby Canyon Bridge still ringing fresh in our ears, they made a sombre exit off the stage. Yet, something simply did not feel right. If their past performance were anything to go by, the exit was bordering awkward, almost as if…

…They would come back and finish their performance with a bang, and boy did they do just that! A thunderous amount of applause greeted them as they jumped back on stage, and in a blink of an eye waltzed their way through three encore songs such as the all-time Death Cab classics of Passenger Seat, A Movie Script Ending, and Transatlanicism.

It was then with much regret and emotion that the fans gave them a proper farewell, with Ben and co. promising to return to Singapore soon, much to the joy and relief of many a die-hard fan present in the crowd that night. Will I be at the next event? You’ll be sure I would!