ABC/Randy Holmes

Now’s your chance to see the patented Death Cab for Cutie live difference for yourself.

The band, which launches a U.S. tour Thursday in Madison, Wisconsin, often surprises newcomers with a straight-ahead rock energy onstage that you might not necessarily hear on record.

“Even early on, people have always remarked to us, like, ‘You’re such a different band live than you are on your albums,'” bassist Nick Harmer tells ABC Audio.

“For us, I like that,” he adds. “I like that us playing our music live can give a slightly different experience or an emotional thing than what happens when you put on our music on the headphones and listen quietly in the room.”

Harmer, like frontman Ben Gibbard, grew up amid the ’90s alternative and grunge scene listening to bands including Nirvana and Soundgarden, which he thinks influenced how they wanted to present their band in a live setting.

“You can list every band that we loved, and there was just sort of this kind of undeniable physical energy that came out of being on a stage, this electricity that sort of happened,” Harmer says. “I think … as we play music, we sort of channel a lot of that same physicality and feel that same kind of energy.”

Over the years, Harmer’s found that he can’t change the way he plays live, even if he wanted to.

“We’ve tried, like, ‘Do we not do that?'” Harmer shares. “But it’s, like, when I play music and Jason [McGerr] starts playing drums … I can’t help it. It’s just the way that I physically want to express the music.”

Death Cab will be touring behind their new album Asphalt Meadows, which is out now.

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