Death From Above 1979 @ The Wax (Kitchener, ON) – November 1, 2012

November 23, 2012 No comments
Written by Cosette Schulz

Photo by Cosette Schulz

They broke up in 2006. Then reunited in 2011. Then off, again. Then, this past September, to their fans’ delight, were on once more on a Canadian tour. Death From Above 1979, that being brilliant bassist Jesse Keeler and daft drummer Sebastien Grainger, simply melted Kitchener’s The Wax the day after Halloween as part of their ‘Song CPR’ tour.

DFA1979 is scrumptious simplicity, passionately primitive. The way Keeler commands his bass and delivers his delicious bass lines is unreal, feeding sound to the crowd in such an effortless, nonchalant manner. Grainger crashes his cymbals and destroys his drums, filling in the blanks in this perfect combination of noisy harmony. The music they make has so much force and power to it that the crowd couldn’t help but react by erupting into a monstrous mosh, hypnotized by the heaviness at hand. It was a surprise that the enormous sparkling chandelier that hung above the audience didn’t fall from all the vibrations and chaos below (that would, in fact, be a literal death from above…).

The two powered through a barely hour-long set, with the first half acting as a showcase for their newest songs, which, despite their newness of status, satisfied the crowd’s eager ears. These new tunes are works in progress, but remain true to the now-classic DFA1979 sound: an impossibly irresistible bass line complimented and grounded by slick drums. Seeing this band live is quite possibly one of the most exciting things your eyes and ears may ever experience; they are a constant go-go-go and you’ll be gone-gone-gone by the end of it all. It is simple chaos, with a simple stage set-up of their simple backdrop of their elephant-trunked faces: just two unassuming men that destroy.

Stage banter was brief and goofy, which cleared any misconception of their being any real remaining feud between the two. Before breaking into “Little Girl” – a song about Keeler’s daughters – Keeler said that he’s doomed to never have a son after having two girls. “If there’s anyone that can make this man a son, it’s him,” Grainger said. “He should be a son machine.” True, as their 2004 LP title suggests, You’re a Woman, I’m a Machine. That, and discovering a guy in the crowd that had once made out with the daughter of a member of the Barenaked Ladies and having him brought on stage by Grainger, kept things quite hunky dory.

The second half of the show was an even mix of goods and requests for the encore. DFA1979 blazed through “Romantic Rights,” “Pull Out,” and “Turn It Out,” before slowing down into a groove with “Black History Month.” “We’ll play a song if I can make out what you’re saying,” Keeler said, as the crowd screamed titles in his direction. The duo ended the set with “Do It!” from their 2002 Heads Up EP, which had Keeler seamlessly move from bass to keys (a sticker on his keyboard amusingly read “DON’T STEAL, THE GOVERNMENT HATES THIEVES”). Despite bidding us farewell twice now, DFA1979 have proved that they haven’t lost their touch, energy or connection, and their new release will certainly attest to this.


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