Canadian disco-punk band Death from Above (formerly Death from Above 1979) performed at The UC Theater in Berkeley this past Friday, November 17th. Presented by punk-centric satirical news website The Hard Times, the show also featured an opening performance by Ontario rock band The Beaches.
Pulling from their three album discography, but with an emphasis on their latest release, “Outrage is Now!”, Death from Above performed a heavy and stripped down show when compared to their contemporaries. Featuring the duo of bassist/keyboardist Jesse F. Keeler and drummer/vocalist Sebastien Grainger, the focus was on amping up and engaging with the crowd while keeping gimmicks to a minimum.
The band encouraged the audience to put away their phones and spend just fifteen minutes disconnected from technology and enjoy some rock music, during their between-song banter. A mosh pit formed in the middle of the audience during heavier tracks such as ‘Going Steady’, and I even spotted a couple security guards headbanging along to the music. While not totally packed, the venue housed a diverse crowd, and you were as likely to spot a kid wearing a Green Day shirt as you were an adult sporting an LCD Soundsystem hoodie.
The band also gave fans time for a breather by lowering the pace with slower tracks such as ‘Freeze Me’, and the usually seated Grainger actually sang a song while standing with backing tracks performing the usually live beats. Grainger added some levity to the show by asking if a fan wanted him to write on his chest after they threw a sharpie onstage between songs. Clad in all white attire, I’m probably not the only one that was disappointed he didn’t do it. Altogether a very enjoyable, clean and tight performance by one of the few acts still melding disco and rock today, and doing so successfully.