Warning: May Cause Bleeding
Death From Above 1979, or simply Death From Above for those of us that don't like a mouthful, are a unique band that attract an eclectic mix of fans. You look around Bristol's Fleece to see indie jackets, emo green outfits and metal T-Shirts with ripped off sleeves - not the kind of mix of people that would usually all turn up to see the same band. Since their introduction to the UK last summer, Death From Above have supported My Chemical Romance, toured the world and are now on their second UK headline tour of the year with festival dates galore ahead of them.
As ten twenty comes and goes most bands would be finishing their sets or already having a drink in their tour bus, but the Canadian duo that are Death From Above 1979 are still swaggering around the stage setting up their unique kit. Two amp stacks. A bass. A synth. Some drums. It doesn't sound so much of a stage set up as the kit that an eclectic musician would keep in his front room, but if you've ever heard DFA then you know to expect an aural assault, far bigger than the sum of its parts, from the second they walk on stage.
Ten minutes late, they launch in to their set with the fuzz and low-end rumble that no other band can produce in the same way. There's no doubting the fact that DFA are not just re-inventing the wheel, but are trying something complete different instead. They sound like no other band. They look like no other band. They fit in no genre. Jesse (bass) and Sebastian (drums/vocals) both perform as if the instruments were extensions of themselves. There is no looking at the fret board as Jesse swings the bass around his head and plays it as if it were a guitar solo, there's no conscious counting as they band start songs perfectly in-sync and there's no point where you can fault the band musically.
Jesse has previously stated that he's not actually a good bassist - but rather that he is an average guitarist playing bass. This is, to a degree, correct. Jesse isn't a good bassist - he's an amazing one. His style of playing is unique and sets the standard for a whole new generation of bassists. His fingers fly up and down the fretboard as if he were playing intricate solos on a fragile guitar rather than a cumbersome bass, which is generally used for picking out root notes and plodding along in the background. This is no ordinary bassist. If that wasn't enough, Jesse balances playing bass with playing synths. Who needs three people if you can do it with two?
It's no different with Sebastian when it comes to drumming. His kit is understated and simply sits at the side of the stage after a five-minute setup. As the lyrics to ever song ring from his mouth he hits ever beat in perfect time with a passion that most drummers don't have as they're sat hidden away at the back of the stage.
With a stage invasion during 'Blood On Our Hands', in which Jesse boots a stage-diver in the bottom, it's hard, for a moment, to see how Death From Above actually got to where they are today. They're two Canadians with no guitar that go against everything mainstream music seems to be pushing - not exactly what the UK music scene was looking for a year ago. Somehow, for Death From Above, it's worked and they're a different, one of a kind, bloody fantastic band to watch that burst with an energy and depth of sound that no other band seem to possess - no matter how many members they have.