Death From Above 1979 put on a terrific show at St. Andrews Hall on Friday November 3rd, 2017.
Opening the show was fellow Toronto band, The Beaches. The band gets their name from a lovely area of their city in which they live.
Made up of four kickass and talented ladies, the band definitely took to the stage ready to rock. The Beaches showcased not only memorable riffs, but powerful vocals, with a lasting impact to boot.
Their confidence on stage, and pure in-sync talent was absolutely refreshing. The Beaches played in incredible harmony, but also at often times, moved in unison as well. Their set was completely enjoyable, both visually and sonically.
They are joining Death From Above in support of their debut LP, “Late Show”.
Death From Above 1979 put forth a rather unique dynamic by today’s structural standards with Sebastian Grainger on lead vocals and drums, Jesse Keeler on bass, backing vocals and synth. Epic band, Royal Blood comes to mind as a similarly made up duo.
St. Andrews, which is no larger in interior structure than your quintessential American high school gymnasium, seemed the perfect venue to showcase DFA’s latest album.
“Outrage! Is Now” is an album that spotlights the band’s growth and musical expansion: tracks that are undeniably catchy, yet still unmistakably rock and roll.
The band aimed to make an album full of complex bass and intricate riffs that didn’t distract too much from the music, and it was clear that even in the LP’s young life, Jesse has become great at shredding it out.
Dressed in alternating black and white, Death From Above graced the stage without a word, and got straight to the music. They started off their night with the opening track from their new album, “Nomad”.
Next up in the night’s musical journey was “Virgins” from their 2014 album, “The Physical World”. Much to the crowd’s delight, the duo included jams across their LP and EP discography.
An extra loud cheer eminated when “Turn It Out” began, from powerhouse album, “You’re A Woman, I’m A Machine”.
DFA kept “Outrage! Is Now” coming with “Moonlight” (whose vocal vibe reminds me seriously of David Bowie, title pun intended), an album that has certainly allowed the band’s musical and singing skills to especially shine.
At this point in the set, drummer Sebastian Grainger waved from the smoke-filled stage and said, “We’re from Death From Above Toronto, thanks for coming out tonight”.
During “Always On”, somewhat of a moshpit developed center stage in the audience. With hands in the air, fans were more than ready to dance and thrash to their favorite Death From Above song. Strobing, probing lights were set up around the perimeter of the stage, giving extra emphasis on the music’s kickass feel.
During “Little Girl”, a couple of crowd surfers emerged to be then picked up by bouncers at the end of their journey, and sent back into the crowd.
After the song’s conclusion, Sebastian kept his playful storytelling alive by explaining, “That was a song that was written about an unborn child, a fetus. Then it turned into a song about a baby by the time we recorded it. Anyway…” He then greeted the crowd in French, and all of the audience members who understood echoed back a resounding cheer. The audience was filled with some Canadian visitors who were there to welcome their country heroes.
For their latest album’s title track, Sebastian emerged from behind the drums to perform lead vocals center stage. During the closing chorus, he returned to add some extra heavy beats.
After the song “Holy Books” (also off of their latest record), Sebastian chimed, “Goddamn, we are haunted tonight! Is anyone an ordained priest or minister? We need to perform an exorcism”. Before the night was up, the band would tell the crowd, “This is my favorite show of the tour. Easily. I haven’t said that to anyone ever”.
The love and passion was all around mutual, band and crowd having an equally amazing time.
After the superb track, “Never Swim Alone”, Sebastian started asking the crowd if they ever get Canadian channels or commercials here in the US. “A cultural exchange”.
He told a tale about an old Toronto commercial that depicted a lady in a leotard with voluminous hair.
The brief song the commercial put forth, he portayed, was a sort of heavy breathing whisper.
“Ho-aha-ho-aha-super fitness. We recorded me doing that during Trainwreck 1979”.
The genius sample was played, and to the crowd’s delight, DFA started into the track from “The Physical World”.
To close out the setlist, DFA presented the title track from “The Physical World”. Sebastian emerged from the drum kit again, as The Beaches’ drummer Eliza Enman McDaniel took to the stage to pound out some incredible rhythms.
Upon the song’s conclusion, Sebastian thanked Eliza and then, “Thank you Beaches for kicking our ass every night.” He addressed the crowd. “Thank you. We’re Death From Above from Toronto. Not far from here. Basically just go out the door and keep walking and you’ll be at my house.”
Once the band left the stage, a loud and in unison “D-F-A!” chant began.
The two gentleman reemerged to do the best kind of encore.
“What do you want us to play?”
Many shouts began, and “Dead Womb” was the loudest.
“Yeah, we’ll do it! Pick one more though…”
Once “Dead Womb” had concluded, Sebastian told the crowd, “That was the first song we ever wrote. Next is probably… the fifth song I wrote. ‘Pull Out’. A song that we play as a sign of strength and skill, that’s way too fast. An opportunity for the crowd to pull out of the mental fuckery of staring at their phones”.
After the quick and heavy track had concluded, Jesse took to a mic.
“Thank you Detroit. We love you!” Sebastian held up a peace sign, and the band disappeared, as cheers continued.
The rocking duo will be continuing their tour throughout the US and into Canada, before heading to Europe next year.
3. Caught Up
4. Turn It Out
6. Always On
7. Little Girl
8. White Is Red
9. Outrage! Is Now
10. Holy Books
11. Freeze Me
12. Going Steady
13. Black History Month
14. Never Swim Alone
15. Trainwreck 1979
16. Romantic Rights
17. The Physical World
18. Dead Womb
19. Pull Out
Words and photos by: Tiffany Cuthrell