Death From Above 1979 Kept Their Rock Hard and Simple

Brooklyn Bowl, November 15


Photo by Erik Kabik /

It’s a hell of a tornado of noise from two guys who don’t even have a guitar. Death From Above 1979 make the most of minimalism: Bass and drums are the only instruments, but they create a sonic barrage that makes some multi-guitar acts sound like pennywhistle quintets.

Their stage show is likewise stripped down: a backdrop of the band’s haircuts-with-elephant-trunk-noses logo. One guy in black, the other in white, both with clear Lucite instruments. Stage patter was held to a brief, vaguely uncomfortable greeting, leaving the focus on the sound, a riff-heavy roar. Death From Above’s set included early singles “Romantic Rights” and “Blood on Our Hands,” as well tracks from their new album, The Physical World, such as the sprawling “Right On, Frankenstein.”

Singer/drummer Sebastien Grainger pummeled his kit and wailed evocative lyrics about bedrooms and basements, toxic clouds and skateboards, while bassist Jesse Keller tore out chunks of distortion, grimy hooks and string squeals. All of it built to a hypnotic groove that filled the room—not bad for just a duo. ★★★★✩

Photos by Erik Kabik /

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