Death Cab for Cutie
are celebrating the 20th anniversary of their first-ever live performance by announcing the special release of never-before-heard audio from that very show. Recorded in the band’s hometown of Bellingham, Wash., FIRST SHOW, ACOUSTIC AT THE PACER HOUSE, BELLINGHAM WA. 11/22/97 is available via Bandcamp now—downloads start at $4, and all proceeds go to Seattle nonprofit The Aurora Commons.
Frontman Benjamin Gibbard looked back on that fateful show in a statement:
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 cross-legged 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.
Death Cab for Cutie’s lineup currently consists of core members Gibbard, Nick Harmer and drummer Jason McGerr—cofounder Chris Walla left the band in 2014. Their eighth album (and first without Walla) Kintsugi, released in 2015, earned Death Cab their eighth Grammy nom. The band’s ninth album is due out in 2018.
Stream FIRST SHOW, ACOUSTIC AT THE PACER HOUSE, BELLINGHAM WA. 11/22/97 below, and buy it on Bandcamp here. Further down, listen to Death Cab’s 2008 Daytrotter Session and see the poster for their first show.