Day 0: DFA 1979 pre-show at the Metro, Chicago – August 04, 2011

by deej on August 23, 2011

Two weeks before heading to Chicago, The Joy Formidable announced a free pre-show – an awesome opportunity to catch one of my must-sees again at Lollapalooza. Small club sets provide an intimacy rarely afforded mid-afternoonin a field of thousands, and I was stoked to get the chance to see them at night.

So why was I considering abandoning free access to a guaranteed sure thing for a remote shot at another sold-out show?

The answer simply was who would be performing: Death From Above 1979.

Sebastien Grainger and Jesse F. Keelor called it quits after one album in 2006, but reunited earlier this year for a quick cash grab few shows on the summer festival circuit. Having missed out on most of the hoopla 5 years ago, this was an opportunity for me to make up for lost time. (Besides, The Joy Formidable were opening for Foo Fighters at a Saturday aftershow, as well as playing Edmonton’s own Sonic Boom, so I knew I had other chances to check them out in addition to their Lollapalooza set.)

Arriving at Chicago’s famed Metro, a few hundred were in already in a line that coiled around the building. A couple of people were hawking extra tickets and I was quickly able to score one for $20 – 10 bucks less than face value! A sweet deal, considering I was expecting to pay $50ish. (Being a Red Wings fan comes with greater privileges than winning the Cup every other year sometimes… :) )

On to the show. Openers Metz featured a trio of rockers from Toronto, and they came to p-l-a-y. Driving guitars and pummeled drums got heads bobbing quickly, and they delivered a loud and frenetic set from their forthcoming album that gained more than a few fans, myself included. One killer opening.

But the crowd was here for the headliners, and after an extended set change that had everyone growing anxious amidst shouts of D-F-A! D-F-A!, Sebastien and Jesse finally took the stage.

No introductions or how-you-doin’s. Straight into Turn It Out. Screeching basslines and a pounding drum beat melded together to produce a punk rhythm capable of melting your face off. As one song ran into the next, the band’s performance became a sensory assault with the pit erupting into one of the angriest scenes I have ever witnessed. Bodies thrashed and flailed like puppets on strings. So much steam arose from the sweaty mass that it was hard to see the stage at times. It was ridiculously awesome.

Seventeen songs later, including a brief break and encore that included the makings of a new song (!), it was all over. The majority of the crowd filed out in search of the cooler night air; others aimlessly wandered around bloodied and bruised in search of shoes. I stood there for a few minutes soaking it all in – and soaking– on what had just happened. A performance for the ages.

And a ferocious precursor for what was to come.

Turn It Out
Dead Womb
Going Steady
Too Much Love
Cold War
Black History Month
Go Home, Get Down
Little Girl
Blood on Our Hands
You’re a Woman, I’m a Machine
Pull Out
We Don’t Sleep At Night
Romantic Rights
Do It!

You’re Lovely But You’ve Got Lots of Problems
If We Don’t Make It We’ll Fake It
Losing Friends
[New Song?!]


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