PEDRO THE LION / DEATH CAB FOR CUTIE – by mike bushman
The Casbah is nestled beneath the flight path of the San Diego Airport. This is not relevant to this story whatsoever, but always makes a nice surreal experience as a couple tons of jet comes roaring over (seemingly) low enough to hit it with a rock (if one so desired to derail the flight of innocents). Thursday night can be iffy at any club and I must have stood looking at planes for too long because when I arrived, the place was packed front to back in anticipation of Death Cab for Cutie. I had been recently ingesting their EP on Barsuk Records. It’s very mellow and sweet and shuffles along content to just stand there (and stare at airplanes). The Casbah is a great place for a number of reasons. The security actually seems pleased to see you and rarely have to flex to keep things in line. The bartenders make stiff drinks and actually deserve their tip (as opposed to say…Montage type clubs where you get your drink based on your breast size…and if you’re a guy, then too bad for you all together and enjoy your wait). Plus a place to smoke if you are so inclined and it’s no wonder such a crowd had started the weekend early by supporting these touring acts. Since the people were jammed tight and I was knocking back whiskey drinks faster than they could pour them (it’s what happens when you see friends at shows, eh?), I didn’t get any quality pictures. Somewhere in my slurred attempt at journalism, I snapped a shot or two from the soundboard area (which was the only place to stand, as a testament to the band).
Sweet melodies and shoe gazing tempos didn’t seem to bore anybody this night and Death Cab was sincerely overly gracious for the attention. They remarked that the last time they played SD, there were about 6 people in the crowd. I am guessing the Holiday Matinee promotion is what has helped spread their name here in SD (but thats how Modern Fix came to be aware of these mood smiths of indie rock). I believe the band is from the Seattle area and I can hear the Sebadoh thought process in some of their music. For an approach I normally tend to get bored with quickly, I felt a warm vibe soak in as the Jack N Cokes kept time with the dripping melodies. The crowd smiled a lot.
In the blurred interim as Pedro the Lion set up, I bumped into a couple of the Holiday Matinee staff that put tonights show together. Good blokes every one of them.
I have heard good things about Pedro the Lion. I have never received any of their music (and if you own/work for a zine, you get spoiled with music very quickly so if it’s not put right under your nose, sometimes you miss it). Pedro the Lion is a two piece (guitar/drums) and if that sounds stripped and boring, that’s because it is. Plodding down the path of slow, slow, slooooooooooow and my attention wandered. A couple of conversations with Andrew the sound pimp and a trip outside for some… air, yeah, and the show was over. I don’t remember much of Pedro even though I tried, it just didn’t stick.
But Death Cab for Cutie was a mellow fix to soak up the mistrust of the day.