Death From Above 1979 at The Academy Friday 20th February 2015

The Irish audiences have been spoiled of late with bands making comebacks after long hiatus away. This time it was the turn of Death From Above 1979 to make a return with a highly anticipated show at The Academy.

The duo of Jesse Keeler and Seb Grainger arrived triumphantly on stage emerged out in contrasting colours. Keeler dressed in black while Grainger was decked out in full hipster hillbilly chic of white dungarees. DFA 1979 don’t hang about and their sound isn’t exactly subtle. The bass guitar on the night was diesel injected and played with the roar of a jet engine starting off. It’s high octane stuff. Keeler was like a boxer on stage, moving like he was shadowboxing an opponent, trying to avoid the knockout blow. His energy and intensity was infectious. Grainger, while behind the drum kit, provided the wit and personality between songs and pummelled the kit during songs.

Understandably, tracks form their first album in ten years ‘The Physical World’ are getting prominence on the set list. Right On Frankenstein, Virgins and Cheap Talk are delivered with blunt force. Even a gig where the tunes were being hurled around like live hand grenades needed a change of pace otherwise the lack of contrast would make the set feel like a blur. Keeler’s switch to playing keys on Go Home, Get Down was necessary and provided that change of tone, while White Is Red brought it down another notch. The flip side was that songs like Nothin’ Left and Going Steady felt like warp speed fleeting moments that didn’t deliver the impact they should’ve as they were sandwiched between Little Girl, Gemini and Crystal Ball. The latter three were delivered with a twelve inch breeze block on the accelerator.

With a set delivered with such force and velocity who would have thought the security staff would have been overworked. But, nope, they were simply like traffic wardens, directing the crowd surfers to their next destination.  For the encore DFA 1979 wheeled out Romantic Rights slowly, teasing the crowd in a bar here and a bar there before dive bombing in with the full force of the song. A DFA 1979 gig and mosh pits go hand in hand like Joan Burton and water charge protesters. The pit had circled in anticipation waiting for the inevitable chaos to kick off and it was a mass of heaving and jostling. It was all good natured and in the mood of the overall gig.

New pretenders like Royal Blood have emerged but DFA 1979 showed they are still the kings of what they do.