Some years back, just when I was getting in to the band, Death From Above 1979 came through town and, for whatever reason, I decided not to go; I figured I would see them next time.
And then they broke up.
I had long come to terms with the fact that I would have to live with this regret when they announced their reunion earlier this year, and had been eagerly anticipating a Vancouver show, but with a little bit of caution. Would they live up to their past selves? Was this something I had built up too much in my head?
Opening the night was Biblical, who were pretty much the epitome of a generic hard rock band. Imagine Eagles of Death Metal with all satire stripped, and less talent, and that's pretty much what it was. They started off with some power chords before the vocals came in, a gruff, clichéd growl, and nothing in their set really sounded all that original, a few times their influences rubbed through a bit too much. While I am not sure I would classify them as "bad", they were definitely generic and forgettable.
And then it was time for Death From Above 1979. As the lights went down, chants of D-F-A immediately started until the duo hit the stage. They opened with an instrumental, showing off Jesse F Keeler's crunching bass and the chaotic drumming of Sebastien Grainger before exploding into "Turn It Out". Pretty much any reservations I had were eradicated right off the bat; and not just by the volume.
Blowing through the set, they managing to up the energy with every song, playing just about everything from their "one and a half albums". They stopped a few times for some banter, with Grainger joking that he recognized every person from years ago (pointing out a few in particular), prompting us to boo their hometown of Toronto and teasing that Hawksley Workman would not be there, so we were stuck with them.
Highlights of the set included "Black History Month", which ended with a swirling storm of reverb and feedback, the insanely chaotic "Pull Out" and above all, "Romantic Rights", which got a huge recognition pop from the crowd and thunderous clapping-along in the middle, the only time Grainger got out from behind the kit to sing at the front of the stage. They "ended" with "Do It!", which build to an insane finish, and were back out for the usual encore, ending the night with just as much intensity as they began.
While I was disappointed they didn't play "Sexy Results" -- possibly my favourite of theirs -- I couldn't help but be blown away by the set. I don't think anyone would argue that their return is anything less than triumphant.
setlist (not 100% positive)
Turn It Out; Dead Womb; Going Steady; Too Much Love; Cold War; Black History Month; Go Home, Get Down; Little Girl; Blood on our Hands; You're A Woman, I'm a Machine; Pull Out; Romantic Rights; Do It!
(encore) You're Lovely (But You've Got Lots of Problems); Losing Friends