At the ripe age of 34, I have seen the music industry reinvent itself on more than one occasion. While I was fortunate enough to begin my musical identity right as Nirvana was taking off, it is my honest opinion that there are only a few perfect records created. One of these perfect albums just so happened to be released as I entered my second decade of musical snobbery. That album is called Give Up and as it now enters its second decade, The Postal Service are in the middle of a world tour celebrating the beloved album.
After nearly 90 minutes in traffic, we made our way to the lovely Greek Theatre in Los Angeles just in time for the evenings main support act, Big Freedia. I’ll be honest, my exposure to bounce MC’s is very limited, but thanks to the eccentric act from New Orleans, I sure as hell hope that changes. For nearly 45 minutes, Big Freedia freaked across the stage armed with a mic, a DJ and three booty shaking dancers. As the sun set behind the hills that make up Griffith Park, most of the crowd didn’t know what to make of what was in front of them. Two self-described wine snobs sitting in my general area honestly thought they had made it to the wrong show. With songs like Excuse and Azz Everywhere, it is understandable as the hard hitting beats and praise of the backside are a radically different message than kissing an ex in a way Clark Gable would have admired. That said, Big Freedia came and concurred as he pumped the crowd for the main event.
When I first heard that The Postal Service was going on tour, I was skeptical. What bootlegs I had heard of their sporadic live performances a decade ago left a lot to be desired. As I am sure many people are, I am very protective of Give Up and how something so simple truly served as a blueprint for a new generation of laptop rocking musicians. Thankfully a decade after release, the band has managed to translate the still unique techno sounds found of Give Up into anthems capable of moving large masses of humanity that show up to celebrate them.
Opening with The District Sleeps Alone, the band commanded the short attention spans of all 8,000+ fans that made it into the hillside venue. For the next 75 minutes, with front man Ben Gibbard joking that they were “a band from nowhere” the four piece perfectly performed basically every song that appeared on the original version of Give Up, as well as all the b-sides and new songs from the deluxe edition.
While many may thing of The Postal Service as the guy from Death Cab and some other guy, it was fellow indie darling Jenny Lewis who stole the show. The ‘third’ member of The Postal Service, we all know Lewis can belt out some truly powerful vocals, however on this particular night we got to witness just how phenomenal of a musician she is. In addition to her cute interplay with Gibbard on Nothing Better, Lewis threw massive amounts of rage sauce onto songs like Recycled Air, Clark Gable and Tattered Line of String.
While I don’t believe The Postal Service could ever recapture the magic that is Give Up with a second album, I am truly grateful the band decided to hit the road in celebration of 10 years of songs that served as an important soundtrack to my twenties. Let’s hope it doesn’t take another 10 years to have them do it all over again.