Death From Above 1979 LIVE @ Manchester Ritz
Music trends are difficult to predict but one seems to have surprised more than any other, the rise of the two piece rock band. From Royal Blood, to Japandroids, across the world riff heavy rock music is making it’s way to the centre stage of the music industry. One such band is the newly reformed Death From Above 1979 here to reclaim the fans lost when the band left on hiatus over half a decade ago.
The band split after touring their debut album in 2006, but fans rejoiced when in 2011 they announced a comeback and in July 2014 new material started to arrive. What material it was too, full throttle riffs adorn thundering drum tracks that seem to tap into the primal side of every listener, and a live demonstration is something that has to be seen to be believed.
Bass player Jesse Keeler is first to appear on stage at the Ritz to an ever so slightly tipsy crowd, all of whom seem fully versed in what activities the night has in store, removing jackets and tying up hair in preparation. After checking his own equipment in typical gimmick-less fashion for the band, he is joined by drummer and singer Sebastian Granger, and things take a turn for the more manic.
Before Granger has let out a single word Keeler’s bass has the crowd whipped up into a frenzy, the mosh and circle pits encompassed most of the floor before a single word is screamed into the microphone. This is not the anarchic violence you see in that of a hardcore or punk gig however, the crowd are given unity by the relentless beats offered up by the unique combination of drum and bass that allow the pits to bounce in unison just as easily as smash at full pace into one another. If anyone in the room had been more relaxed they may have questioned the actual genre of the punk, rock and grunge mixture the band displayed, but this definitely isn’t the case. It’s rare that this combination of genuine pulse pounding rock music and raspily screamed vocals manages to maintain the audience’s attention for a full show, but DFA manage it.
The Canadian duo themselves rarely speak, occasionally offering a thank you but in no more than a few words, instead offering a two hour set containing that myself and other members of the crowd truly believe was every track the band had ever released. With an almost entirely upbeat catalogue of tracks, the band give their audience occasional breathers with improvised jam sessions between songs which most of the crowd use to find friends thrown across the room by pits or catch their breath in anticipation of the impending surge of movement that will accompany the next track.
The vocals may not have been as solid as they are on a recorded studio album, however the sheer force that every individual riff hits the room with more than makes up for Grangers lack of volume. Other bands would also have been criticised for their lack of crowd interaction but in DFA’s case, the crowd seem to be conducted by the music itself, needing no further encouragement to lose their minds to track after track. The band aren’t selling people on deeply emotional lyrics, or band member persona’s instead opting for a good old fashioned punk esque free for all, inviting any with a desire to dance, jump and mosh the night away.
4.5 out of 5