Last week Canadian dance punk duo Death From Above 1979 played a sold out show at the Institute in Birmingham. As the band hadn’t played Birmingham in about a decade, fans were understandably queuing excitedly outside of the venue in advance. The main room of the Institute was rammed from wall to wall with people.
Bristol-based psychedelic rockers Turbowolf [8/10] kicked the night off. Their danceable beats and glittery stage presence did a good job of getting the audience in the gig mood. They played a mix of songs off their first album and their second album, Two Hands, which was released last year. Overall, the audience seemed to enjoy their set and it was clear that a sizeable portion of the crowd was already familiar with the band.
Next up was Death From Above 1979 [9/10]. The stage bore their familiar logo of the duo as elephants lit up. They opened up with ‘Turn It Out,’ which instantly got the whole room moving. Lights flashed brightly, making it feel more like a rave than a rock concert. Having DFA1979 several years ago, it was striking how greatly their set benefitted from having a wider back catalog to draw from, with the release of their second full-length album The Physical World, last year. In fact, they played all but one track off the new album. It was also fantastic to note that fans seemed to dance and sing along to the new songs just as much as the older ones. Still, unlike many bands, DFA thankfully didn’t deny the audience of hearing the well-loved older songs. When the band played ‘Dead Womb’ off their Heads Up EP, the crowd went wild. After finishing with ‘Always On,’ the crowd cheered so much that they came back on stage for a three song encore of ‘Black History Month,’ ‘Romantic Rights,’ and ‘The Physical World.’
Overall, it was a consistently good night. Turbowolf were a well-chosen opener, but the night could have perhaps benefitted from having another opener. However, Death From Above 19789 played a long enough headlining set to mostly make up for the lack of a second or third opener. It is worth mentioning that DFA1979 had pretty limited interaction with the crowd, which is normally disappointing. However, their playing was so energetic and groovy that the lack of conversation wasn’t too much of a deterrent Hopefully it won’t be another decade before Death From Above come back to Birmingham again.