Death From Above 1979


May 4th, 2011.
I’m off to the big smoke to see the reformed Death From Above 1979 play the HMV Forum – A band adored by many, but one whose future looked bleak. At the time of their departure from the music world in 2006, the much loved Canadian punk rock duo hated each other. They were through as a band and moved onto other projects. Then they announced their reformation and the music world went a little potty. So one could only expect their return show to be incredible, right? Sadly, it wasn’t. It was good, but I was a touch underwhelmed. I wasn’t the only one.

Now we’re in 2014, and the hype surrounding Death From Above 1979 is back to the levels it reached for their return shows. Last month they released their second full length The Physical World to much acclaim, and you know what? I think in some ways it’s better than their debut record, You’re A Woman, I’m A Machine. Sensing that familiar sense of anticipation rising in me once again, I felt like I had to go and see them play live. Two incredible records under their belt, surely it couldn’t be an underwhelming show second time around?

Arriving on stage to at Gorilla to a heroes’ welcome, we soon hear the familiar droning piano stabs of ‘Turn It Out’ followed by those howling riffs as they thrash through the opener. It’s quickly noticeable how fucking loud it is, and it’s pretty crazy just how much noise these Canadian radsters are capable of. The crowd go pretty much ballistic from the off, and there’s a sudden surge to the front of stage. ‘Right On, Frankenstein’, ‘Virgins’ and ‘Cheap Talk’ soon follow, all taken from the new record. They end up playing the majority (if not all) of the new record, and the songs sound massive live. Everyone in the pit knows all the lyrics too, which is refreshing (especially considering it only came out last month). They really have struck gold with this second record, and have been able to evolve as a band whilst maintaining their funky unique brand of punk rock.


Death From Above 1979

It’s a pretty rowdy crowd throughout the night, but they’re also an appreciative bunch and happy to go along with whatever the band have to offer. One hilarious thing to note is up until the encore, only one person crowd surfs, but he does it at least 5 times – each time crashing onto the stage and the monitor’s/Jesse’s equipment. One of the stage hands (a big tough looking bastard) soon got sick of this…The crowd keep the band on their toes all night, and a request from someone in the audience to play ‘Dead Womb’ (one of their earlier tracks) ends up in an impromptu break from the set list to thrash through the track, much to everyone’s delight. “Be careful what you ask for” jokes Jesse afterwards. Both Jessie (bass) and Sebastien (drums) appear to be in a great mood throughout the show, joking with the crowd after every other song and really getting into it. Knowing that the two were sick of each other before the band pretty much imploded, it’s good to see them not only back recording music and playing shows, but on good terms as friends.

Three massive tunes in ‘Little Girl, ‘Government Trash’ and ‘Always On’ take us up to the encore, and as the band take to the stage for the final time that night, we’re treated to three more delights. Launching into ‘Cold War’ and ‘Romantic Rights’ from the first record, the latter in particular sending the crowd into a frenzy, before finishing up on the title track from ‘The Physical World.’ Wonderful.

The lights go up, Death From Above 1979 leave the stage, and we fuck off. Eighteen songs made up the set, and there wasn’t a single stinker in the bunch. They didn’t play ‘Blood On Our Hands’, but it didn’t stand out at the time. The crowd were on fire throughout and Death From Above 1979 were able to match it and more, showing they’ve not missed a beat in their absence.

How did I ever doubt them?

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Andy Hughes

Hi, I'm Andy.I'm the man behind Birthday Cake for Breakfast, a site featuring music news, reviews and interviews.Big believer in Birthday Cake, Pizza, math rock and beer (preferably all in one sitting.) I spend my mornings daydreaming about gigs and my evenings going to gigs. Lunch times are spent walking about town listening to Tom Waits.'Id rather have a bottle in front of me, than a frontal lobotomy'