October 13, 2008 – Following an engrossing performance by Fleet Foxes, Seattle's Death Cab For Cutie softly rocked three-thousand at the Fabulous Fox Theatre.
As they say, third time's the charm. I'd had the opportunity to photograph Death Cab For Cutie twice before, but this shoot went the most smoothly – which is not to say the gig was without its challenges.
For the four-piece's performance at the Fox, the orchestra pit seemed unusually crowded, even more so than many sold-out shows, with chairs occupying even the very edges of the semi-circular area. Shooting areas included the narrow gap between the first row of chairs and the stage, as well as the center and side aisles.
The Fox has a relatively low stage, and this is both a blessing and a curse. On the one hand, performers are only about three feet off the floor, but blocking the audience's view is also a big concern. Since everyone in the first row was seated, I shot the first three songs crouched down, trying to keep as low a profile as possible.
Lighting for this set started out pretty dim, transitioning to some interesting changes during the second and third songs. The first song saw Ben Gibbard lit by a small spot mounted in the rigging high in front of the stage, bathing the singer in pale, high contrast lighting.
The second song saw the lighting open up more for the band with explosions of orange and magenta from the sides of the stage, while the stage was bathed in yellows and oranges for much of the final song of shooting.
Overall, white light was at a high premium during this set, though Chris Walla received a few nice splashes during the second song. I can say that the lighting for the band's set was generally much brighter than it was for their last two performances at the Pageant.
As always, Nick Harmer was the most difficult target on stage, as he wheeled around slamming home the bass, never staying still for an instant. Ben Gibbard was second up for that distinction of toughest target, as he has the habit of twisting back and forth with his guitar while singing.
Almost all of these images were shot from the center of the stage, between Gibbard and Walla. I used the Nikon D3 and D700 with the 24-70mm and 70-200mm, respectively. ISO 3200, f/2.8, and slightly marginal shutter speeds did the trick.