On The List :: Ben Gibbard @ The Hiro Ballroom [6.30.08]

"Silver Lining" (Rilo Kiley)

We're going up late with this because, well, this event was an open bar and then we ended up closing a bar back in Brooklyn. So, great work all around. When I left the Hiro Ballroom, just one of the three bars that were serving drinks had rung up a tab of over 3,500 dollars. I think when Rhapsody invited a rag-tag bunch of bloggers, music writers, and industry heavy-hitters , they didn't think we had such a drinking problem. The event was a press briefing to announce "Music without limits." Basically, Rhapsody is going DRM-free in partnership with MTV, iLike, and Verizon. It's complicated as hell but Rhapsody is going to make a serious run at the iTunes music store in terms of being a distributor of mp3s. Two years from now we'll either look back on this announcement as the time when a company finally knocked Apple on its ass or we'll see it as another failed attempt to rip digital revenue away from iTunes. It was over three years in the making and a lot of interesting (read: powerful) people are throwing their weight behind this. In other news, EMI is laying off a thousand workers. Yeah, the music industry is fit as a fucking fiddle.

More importantly, Ben Gibbard played the second-half of the event. He was mutton-chopped and completely engaging. At one point he expressed, "Wow, this is totally not how I thought this was gonna be. In a good way. (laughter, clapping) I mean, you guys are like, listening to me ... and that's really great!" He ran through a set of Death Cab material ("405," "Photobooth," "Title and Registration") and Gibbard originals like "Carolina" off the Home V split he did with Andrew Kenny of American Analog Set. He also covered Stars "Your Ex-Lover Is Dead" and did a spot-on, gut-check version of Rilo Kiley's "Silver Lining" - a song he introduced as "by my friend Jenny." He even ran through some Postal Service material, playing "Brand New Colony" and crushing everyone in sight.

"Brand New Colony" (Postal Service)

We've got some video from last night and ... a raging hangover. Thanks to Rhapsody and every other piece of corporate machinery that led to last night. It's hard to hate The Man when The Man buys all your drinks and let's you stand five feet from one of the better songwriters of the last 10 years. Oh and he closed with "I'll Follow You Into The Dark." So, there was that too.

"I Will Follow You Into The Dark"

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