Just before the pandemic shut down music venues across the world, Death Cab for Cutie recorded a new live album called Live at the Showbox. The 17-track album was recorded across three nights at the titular Seattle venue in February 2020 - less than two weeks before live music was indefinitely put on hold.
Live at the Showbox was available to fans for 24 hours on Bandcamp starting last Friday. While the record is off Bandcamp now, it will have an official release sometime later this year. A portion of the Bandcamp proceeds went towards the National Independent Venue Association (NIVA): a national coalition of independently owned clubs that advocate for struggling venues after COVID-19 closed their doors.
“Like so many other artists, we expected to play a lot of shows in 2020,” Death Cab for Cutie said in a statement. “To gear up for the year ahead, we decided to warm up by playing an intimate, three-night stand at a venue that’s near and dear to our hearts—the Showbox in Seattle. Well, 2020 didn’t quite turn out as we had planned—but happily those three magical nights last February did, and we’re glad to say that we had them recorded.”
In 2018, Death Cab for Cutie, Mike McCready of Pearl Jam, Duff McKagan of Guns N’ Roses, and Macklemore penned an open letter to save the Showbox from closing. It was signed by a number of artists, including Sleater-Kinney, Run the Jewels, Dave Grohl, Neko Case, The xx, Fleet Foxes, and the War on Drugs.
While the Showbox was granted landmark status by the Seattle City Council in 2019, the club isn’t “saved” just yet. The fight has stalled during a drawn-out process that places only specific protections on landmarked buildings. Without full protection, there’s no guarantee the Showbox or elements of it won’t be redeveloped.
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Article Image: Ben Gibbard of Death Cab for Cutie performing at Life Is Beautiful 2015. (kobbydagan via DepositPhotos.)