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Concert Photography, Concert Reviews, Music

Concert Review + Photos: Death From Above 1979, Biblical @ The Danforth Music Hall

By: Mehek Seyid (@whatthemehek) –

Death From Above 1979. (Photo: Jason Hodgins/Aesthetic Magazine Toronto)

Death From Above 1979. (Photo: Jason Hodgins/Aesthetic Magazine Toronto)

Many concertgoers got to work their heavy holiday meals off and enjoy some great music at The Danforth Music Hall last night where Toronto-natives Death From Above 1979 closed 2013 with a one-off show in their hometown.

Their just-over one hour set found the alternative-rock duo trying out a handful of new songs, many of which flowed well with their material from their highly revered (and thus far, only) album, You’re A Woman, I’m A Machine. While these were enjoyable and well received, it seems that their spaced out appearances and the legacy of their debut album worked against their tests of their new material, as attending fans were noticeably more reactive to their older music. It’s a pretty big testament for their album as it still serves as the main reason for their shows selling out, even nearly ten years after its release.

It seems that Death From Above 1979 is pretty conscious of this fact. Drummer and vocalist Sebastien Grainger surveyed the audience by asking if it was anyone’s first time at one of their shows and later introduced a song by explaining that he wrote it before his nine year-old niece, who attended their show for the first time last night, was even born. The nice thing is that this self-awareness found both Grainger and bassist Jesse Keeler performed with a passion and intensity that newer artists tend to display during their performances, but with the refined technique of a band that knows how to deliver in a live setting. While they checked in with the audience every once in a while, at one point teetering around the edge of insulting Morrissey by talking about how they were supposed to go on tour with him, they were really focused on delivering a solid rock show where they could churn out song after song. It was the kind of show that gave people the option to join the centre mosh pit and sweat it out, or chill out and nod their head in the back.

While Grainger exhibited a strong grasp on manipulating his vocals to be controlled and quiet in one moment and completely wild and uncontained in the next, Keeler was a real treat to watch. He was completely absorbed in delivering his pivotal bass lines during songs like “Turn It Out” and “Blood On Our Hands”, his hair flopping from one side to the next, accented by the changing arrangement of heavy strobes, multi-coloured beams of light and poofs of smoke. These types of effects gave both him and Grainger a physical rock star platform that matched their fame as local heroes of the alternative rock genre.

Last night’s Boxing Day event, the first Death From Above 1979 show for many members of the slightly older and more mature audience, once again found Grainger and Keeler proving that they are very worthy of such a title. Judging by the reaction to “Going Steady” and “Romantic Rights”, the latter of which is even more intoxicating in a live setting, it seemed that their fans had no problem in letting them have that crown for a while, even if it means sparse opportunities to experience them live or having to wait it out for their next album. Contrary to their famous lyric, “Don’t need you/I want you,” this is a band that is most definitely wanted, but even more needed in music today.

Toronto-based Biblical opened the show last night, presenting their brand of hard rock. Performing for just around half an hour, Biblical shared their long, atmospheric laden tunes with their hometown, making for a unique opening set for those who arrived at the Danforth Music Hall early. It was interesting to watch this foursome as they often gathered around together in the center of the stage to jam out during their extended interludes, giving the performance a very natural feel, with tracks like new single “Second Sight”, which provides a taste to their forthcoming LP Monsoon Season, out March 2014. At times their songs felt lengthy, but it was interesting to hear such a range of sounds incorporated in such a seamless way.  

Death From Above 1979



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