From The Pit! Death From Above 1979 @ Neumos
By Grady Tyree
Five years following the sudden and abrupt ending of the Toronto two-piece Death From Above 1979, Sebastien Grainger and Jesse Keeler reconciled their differences to embark on a highly anticipated reunion tour of the bigger summer festivals in 2011. The success and rekindled chemistry of the bass-and-drum duo led to a long-awaited follow-up to their 2004 debut, You’re A Woman, I’m A Machine, in the form of The Physical World, a disco-thrash-punk-pop gem that picks up exactly where their debut left off. I was late to the DFA1979 train, and didn’t catch wind of the band until right before their split in 2006, and since I didn’t hit up Sasquatch in 2011, there was no doubt I was gonna be at Neumos last week.
My friend and I arrived between sets and since there was a break in the crowd, I slid through some cracks and grabbed a spot on Jesse’s side of the stage minutes before their set was scheduled to kick off. Playing right up on the edge of the stage, and backed by a large light-box in the image of their trunk-nosed faces, they opened the show with “Turn It Out,” and the sold-out crowd responded with a wave of adrenaline that only dissipated when the house lights came on at the end of the night. After lighting the fuse with the opening track from YAWIAM, the band followed with “Right On, Frankenstein!,” “Virgins,” and “Cheap Talk,” all from their most recent release. The energy was flowing openly between band and fans, and as the insatiable crowd inhaled each song, the band was rewarded with unbridled adoration with shout-a-longs, clap-a-longs, unhinged headbanging and glimpses of mosh pits when the backlights exposed the packed house.
As they continued, the set alternated between new and old tracks – “You’re A Woman, I’m A Machine” and “Go Home, Get Down” followed by “White In Red,” “Trainwreck 1979,” and “Crystal Ball.” The frenetic pace laid down by Sebastien never eased as the night progressed, and my eyeballs only stopped shaking when I went to sleep later that night! Seeing the band live reminds you how fucking heavy they are; from Sebastien’s throat-shredding wails to the low-end, churning solos spewing out of the opaque-bodied bass guitar of Jesse Keeler, DFA show they can hang with some of the heaviest live acts around these days!
I’ve had a lucky run of shows this year – seeing the return of Failure at the Showbox, watching Outkast bring the funk and nostalgia at Sasquatch, catching the US debut of Uncle Acid & The Deadbeats at Neumos, and now this show…it’s gonna be tough to determine which would be the best of 2014 … might just end up a five-way-tie.