Noise Pop Show Review: Ben Gibbard at Great American Music Hall, 2/27/11

by Emily Anderson on March 4, 2011

Ben Gibbard is called out by Bob Mould at Noise Pop

Closing the Noise Pop festival with solo acoustic shows from Ben Gibbard and Zach Rogue was the right choice. People flew in from Europe, skipped the Oscars, even skipped church for an a relaxing evening at San Francisco’s Great American Music Hall. The young crowd was a mix of experienced Noise Pop festival attendees and those that made last night’s show their select choice.

Appreciation for the Bay Area was reflected in Gibbard’s set-list, which mentioned San Francisco several times. Gibbard even spoke out that the location of San Francisco is special and that he doesn’t change the song to suit the venue but just “keeps it as is.” He also added his personal version of the title track “Codes and Keys” from Death Cab for Cutie’s new album.

As a lyricist, Gibbard takes simple moments or ideas and turns them into surprising experiences. This may have been the motivation for a brave attempt at a live duet with alt-rock pioneer, Bob Mould. Gibbard nervously introduced Bob Mould as his long time hero with claims to have rehearsed a favorite song together. Unfortunately Mould called out Gibbard’s bluff making the confession of only having two rehearsals:  the day-of and a year ago. Gibbard’s nerves did show with multiple smiles as the two played an interesting duet to Mould’s “If I Can’t Change Your Mind.”

Gibbard is known to play a one-off cover and never repeat it. In response to audience requests for a repeat, Gibbard said he stays within the moment and that moment tends to change. A song maybe awesome at the time; later it’s still awesome but there is always going to be a new more awesome song. Last night the awesome song was a piano version of country music Buck Owens’ “Love’s Gonna Live Here.”

There were a few requests from the audience but Ben stuck to the program, which in all probability was the requested song anyway. Other than a short outbreak of crowd excitement for the piano melody of “Soul meets Body,” it was a quiet, sing along night. A soothing ending to a great, exciting Noise Pop festival.

Set-list: Ben Gibbard at The Great American Music Hall thanks to Paige from ‘thecolorawesome’

Steadier Footing
Title Track
Movie Script Ending
Roads Don’t Move
Title and Registration
Soul Meets Body
Codes and Keys
Love’s Gonna Live Here
Passenger Seat
Little Bribes
If I Can’t Change
Crooked Teeth
Grapevine Fires
Farmer Chords
Sound of Settling
Such Great Heights


Summer Skin
Lack of Color
I Will Follow You Into the Dark

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