Death From Above
Live Session (iTunes Exclusive)



by Prophet178 USER (33 Reviews)
January 3rd, 2010 | 7 replies

Release Date: 2005 | Tracklist

I'm going to be honest with you, Death From Above 1979 is one of my favorite bands. The innovation the Canadian duo brought to the drum and bass genre is remarkable. Jesse F. Keeler has been a huge influence on myself personally at a musical level as a bass player. His dance-infused distorted bass lines never fail to make an audience move. His tone is one-of-a-kind and cannot be replicated by anyone else, and he does it all without the use of a single effects pedal. The most impressive part about his tone is how he manages to make a drum n' bass setup sound so full. Sebastian Grainger is also an accomplished drummer. Although his playing is nothing spectacular, it does not need to be. Grainger keeps his beats under control, but still lets loose when he can. The lyrics are silly and fun, usually pertaining to sex, but what else would fit with Jesse's dance club bass lines. The band unfortunately only release one full length, You're a Woman, I'm a Machine, their debut Heads Up! EP and a remix album Romance Bloody Romance before calling it quits in 2006. Death From Above 1979 also quietly released a live session exclusively via iTunes in 2005.

The live session is a short four tracks long, but gives one a taste of what DFA1979 offered in a live setting. Jesse's bass tone is less refined when compared to the studio recordings, which may be due to the use of his Rickenbacker 4003 over the Gibson Grabber used in studio. Those with a careful ear will be able to pick up the tiny differences in the sound, but overall the live sound is what one would expect. Apart from the tonal differences, Jesse improvises quite a bit. For example, in 'Black History Month' Jesse adds in a quick pull-off arpeggio at the tail end of the his bass line. Small additions such as that give the live tracks more character over their studio counterparts. Sebastian's vocals are surprisingly excellent considering he is also drumming. Some may even prefer his raw live vocals over the crisp and clean studio tracking. The production is excellent for a live recording, both instruments complement each other instead of fighting for the foreground.

The four songs the band chose to play are all good choices. One of my personal favorite DFA1979 tracks, 'Black History Month' begins the EP. As mentioned earlier, Jesse spices up the track a bit making it one of the best tracks on the EP. Exclusive track 'Girl U R Lovely' sounds like a b-side off You're a Woman, I'm a Machine, utilizing a simple staccato bass line similar to 'Black History Month' and a DFA1979 style breakdown in the bridge. Finishing off the EP are two more cuts from the LP, 'Going Steady' and 'Little Girl.' Neither of these tracks were standouts on the debut, but they work well in the live setting. The band could have easily gone with popular tracks like 'Romantic Rights' and 'Blood on Our Hands,' but rather choose to mix it up with two underappreciated tracks.

Death From Above 1979 unfortunately had a short run, but a good one at that. Live recordings such as this session are great snapshots of the past that remind us all of the greatness DFA1979 possessed. As one of the only official live recordings the band has put out, this iTunes exclusive is well worth a listen. DFA1979 had been known as a great live band, and from this recording it is evident that there is truth to that statement.

Recent reviews by this author
Portugal. The Man American GhettoPansori Demo 09
Godspeed You! Black Emperor John Peel SessionsPortugal. The Man It's Complicated Being a Wizard
Portugal. The Man Live At Neumo'sPortugal. The Man Devil Say I, I Say AIR
user ratings (7)

Comments:Add a Comment 
January 4th 2010


Album Rating: 3.5

Fanboy 30th review. They have bootlegs better than this by the way, but I can't review those.

January 4th 2010


damn... they would seriously be amazing to see live.

Staff Reviewer
January 4th 2010


their album is one of my faves ever

Digging: Grimes - Miss Anthropocene

January 4th 2010


Album Rating: 3.5

Yes and yes. I wish they were still together.

January 4th 2010


These guys are like the ultimate blast-it-in-your-car-and-rock-the-fuck-out music, but I don't like 'em enough to wonder after bootlegs. Cool to see this reviewed tho.

Digging: Denzel Curry and Kenny Beats - Unlocked

January 4th 2010


Album Rating: 3.0

I miss these guys, a lot.

January 4th 2010


these guys were awesome

You have to be logged in to post a comment. Login | Create a Profile


Bands: A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z

Site Copyright 2005-2019
All Album Reviews Displayed With Permission of Authors | Terms of Use | Privacy Policy