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23 Jan 05

death from above wants you to crowd surf in your living room

friday night saw scotto attend his first ever grad club show…and what a show he picked. death from above 1979 made their return to kingston, after playing a fun and loud show back in august. having attended that show, i thought i knew what to expect, but wow, i was wrong.

let’s start at the beginning. the lost cause went on first, and i liked them better than when i saw them in november. to refresh your memory: they’re made up of stephanie earp and joel mcconvey (guitar and drums respectively), both former queen’s students, and they played an okay but unmemorable set when they opened for andy stochansky. friday’s set felt like death from above’s energy rubbed off on the lost cause, and i thought joel was going to put holes in his snare. they were solid and held my attention for much longer. good upbeat poppiness.

second on the bill was supposed to be from fiction, who also opened for dfa last time, but unfortunately we arrived too late to see them. i’m not sure what happened this time, but they were replaced on the bill at the last second by nassau, another toronto band i’d read a lot about in now and eye but whom i’d never seen. they’re fronted by the ex-drummer for guided by voices, blurtonia, john critchley and the tangiers (which is a pretty impressive resume on its own), but in nassau he’s on guitar+vocals, and i felt as though his voice really dictated the band’s sound. he doesn’t have much of a vocal range (not that you need one – see michael stipe), and there are long instrumental stretches in several songs, but i found it all to be quite droney but enjoyable. scott pointed out that their first four tracks or so were heavily effects-laden, while the remainder of the songs weren’t at all…it was an interesting mix.

finally, death from above came on around midnight, and by that time the grad club was packed (unlike their august show). also unlike their august show, we’d thought ahead and brought earplugs, otherwise i think my head might’ve exploded. their set up took a LONG time (especially considering there are just two of them), and most of this time involved stacking up enormous amps and hooking up a variety of cables and pedals. when they finally launched into their first song, i could smell something burning (and had short-lived visions of that rhode island night club), but the smell eventually went away – perhaps i was having a stroke? or is it possible for a wall of noise to start fires?

anyway, the crowd was unbelievably intense, making the controller.controller show’s crowd look sedate by comparison. the main difference, however, is that the majority weren’t dancing, but instead surging or moshing. thankfully, we were on the left side, and the crazies were mostly, as usual, on the right, so we were saved from being crushed. the people in the front row spent much of their time doubled over with their hands on the stage to support themselves from the surge. even better: who the fuck crowd surfs at the grad club? answer: two morons, including “flannel overbite guy” who’s been going to shows in kingston for years. he always kinda makes me laugh because he generally goes by himself, and is always dressed like it’s 1994 – flannel shirt over top of a random t-shirt. i guess moshing and crowd surfing were right up his alley. anyway, the whole scene reminded me of what woodstock 96 might have been like if it was in someone’s livingroom. minus the few mllion people. and the firestarting. and fred durst. and ed the sock.

our side was slightly more sedate (or, perhaps, safe), but i found it fun to watch some of the people attempt to dance to music they clearly weren’t familiar with. the girls directly in front of us (who, incidentally, have quite sharp elbows) appeared to be attempting to directly translate how they might usually dance to britney and JT to dfa’s noiserock…with interesting results.

oh yeah! the music: they motored through a 45 minute long set, plus a 5 minute or so encore. they played much of you’re a woman, i’m a machine, as well as some tracks that i couldn’t identify (but i think are from their self-titled ep). they were intense and loud and great, and i’m kind of glad they didn’t play any longer, if only for the safety of the crowd. their last track (i think it was too much love) featured some random guy from the crowd who leapt up on stage and shared screaming vocals with the drummer. this same guy also video taped the show, but i’m sure the video is the most nausea-inducing thing i can imagine, with all of the lurching and surging of the crowd.

so, while i’m still a bit disappointed that i didn’t get to see death from above play with controller.controller over the christmas break in toronto, i’m glad i didn’t miss friday night’s spectacle. i repeat: who the fuck CROWD SURFS at the GRAD CLUB?

One Response to “death from above wants you to crowd surf in your living room”

  1. 1
    Keron Says:

    “their last track (i think it was too much love) featured some random guy from the crowd who leapt up on stage and shared screaming vocals with the drummer. this same guy also video taped the show, but i’m sure the video is the most nausea-inducing thing i can imagine, with all of the lurching and surging of the crowd.”

    ha!

    Hardly nausea-inducing, actually. Tape turned out hectic, but great.

    I am the “random guy” you speak of in your review.

    The song I was asked to sing for is called DO IT, not Too Much Love. Their encore song is Too Much Love, though.

    Good times.

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Pronunciation: 'ch&mp
Function: noun
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Date: 1883

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