Death Cab for Cutie co-founder, multi-instrumentalist and producer Chris Walla played his last show with the band on Saturday night at Rifflandia Festival in Victoria, British Columbia. As bandmate Ben Gibbard introduced the closing number on their headlining set, he acknowledged the end of Walla’s nearly two-decade tenure. “Thank you so much for the last 17 years, Chris,” he said, before the group launched into “Marching Bands of Manhattan” off their 2005 album Plans. The show closed on an emotional note with the four band members gathering in an onstage embrace.
Walla announced in August that he’d be leaving Death Cab for Cutie while expressing heartfelt gratitude to Gibbard, Nick Harmer and Jason McGerr for his experiences as part of the quartet. In a statement on his departure, Walla explained that he “long[s] for the unknown.”
“Deciding to leave the band was not, and is not, easy,” he said. “It’s really, really sad. I love my bandmates, and I’m proud of what we’ve done, and mercifully, those things don’t change with my departure. Moving forward, my plans are simply to continue making music, producing records, and erring on the side of benevolence and beauty whenever possible. Darkness may find me, but I shall never choose it.”
Although Walla will not be joining the band on future tour dates, he will appear on their forthcoming eighth studio album. The as-yet-untitled record is due out in early 2015.