Death Cab for Cuties takes the stage at the Crocodile with new members Dave Depper (back center) and Zac Rae (back left).

Tuesday night marked the beginning of a new era for Death Cab for Cutie. The Seattle rock institution played its first show since last year's departure of founding guitarist/producer Chris Walla and gave fans a small taste of its upcoming eighth studio album Kintsugi (out March 31).

The intimate set at the Crocodile was mostly comprised of longtime fan favorites, but three new tunes from Kintsugi were sprinkled into the mix. After starting off the concert with six older tunes, Death Cab played "Black Sun," the new album's first single. It's fairly foreboding for a lead single, with a relatively slow pace and dark tone. It's easy to tell listeners aren't in for a burst of sunshine when Ben Gibbard sings "How could something so fair be so cruel?" as one of the chorus lines. The second new tune, "The Ghosts of Beverly Drive" actually seemed like it'd make for a better single, with a swirling electronic intro giving way to an upbeat start-and-stop guitar riff. The final Kintsugi tune came in the encore. "No Room in Frame" starts off sparse before segueing into a sound that splits the difference between Death Cab's past two records, Narrow Stairs and Codes and Keys. Overall, the new material left me feeling fairly optimistic about Kintsugi, especially after my total disappointment with Codes and Keys. (Video clips of the new songs can be found at Revolt.tv.)

The void left by Chris Walla couldn't be filled by a single man, so Death Cab went with two. The new members (or Death Cab for Newbies) are Portland guitarist/keyboardist Dave Depper and keyboardist Zac Rae from Los Angeles. Depper and Rae sound tight and added some sonic depth on tracks like "Title and Registration" due to the simple fact that together they could cover both the guitar and keys parts (as opposed to Walla having to pick one to play live because he unfortunately only has two arms). It certainly felt a little odd without Walla's smiling face stationed stage left, but in general it still feels like the Death Cab for Cutie fans have come to know and love.

Set List
I Will Posess Your Heart
Crooked Teeth
Why You'd Want to Live Here
Photobooth
Door Unlocked and Open
Grapevine Fires
Black Sun*
Title and Registration
What Sarah Said
I Will Follow You into the Dark
The Ghosts of Beverly Drive*
You Are a Tourist
The New Year
Cath
Soul Meets Body
Marching Bands of Manhattan

-Encore-
No Room in Frame*
A Movie Script Ending
Transatlanticism

*New Song

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