In terms of musical trends, I would call this past decade ‘The years of the reformation’. There has been a huge resurgence of cult bands from the early 00’s getting back together, playing live and releasing new material. Tonight we are at the Academy in Manchester to see two bands that have made solid comebacks in the last couple of years.
First up we have Toronto’s Death From Above! Since their reformation in 2011, the duo have gone onto release two more full lengths, delighting fans having left us with just one album after their initial split in the mid 00’s. It’s weird seeing them play main support in a room which they once filled only a few years back, but that doesn’t seem to phase them as they tear through a pummelling 45 minute set.
The first half of the set is seamless. The band barely take a breath in-between songs and bash through a whole bunch of riff heavy pop tunes, mainly leaning towards their latest effort ‘Outrage! Is Now‘. As a fan of the new record, it’s cool to hear massive tracks like ‘Nomad‘ and the powerful title track be blasted out, bass throbbing and drums crashing. Sebastian’s vocals seem on fine form this evening. It’s so hard to sing and drum at the same time, but he makes it look pretty effortless, especially on the raging fuzz punk of early track ‘Going Steady’, which gets the whole front row moshing like there is no tomorrow.
The second half of the set still brings the bangers, but Seb does have a couple of mini episodes on stage during tunes, thanks to his click track fucking up. He tries to make light of it, but you can tell he’s annoyed. Jesse seems super chilled throughout, smiling at Seb while he slags off the drum machine and tries to finish the set on a lighter note.
I think a lot of the crowd tonight hadn’t heard much of DFA’s recent material, so I think it fell on deaf ears a bit, but as I’d seen the band a few times over the years, I was happy to hear the new tracks and of course we had a few belters from ‘The Physical World‘ stuck in there (one of the most underrated comeback albums going). Sadly, the Academy is the worst venue for sound, so the band didn’t sound as chunky as they could have, but with a snappy set of head banging hits, it’s hard to be fully disappointed!
Tonight’s headliners are At The Drive-In, the post-hardcore heroes from Texas who made a bunch of weird but super cool records in the late 90’s and then totally smashed it with their third LP ‘Relationship Of Command‘ in 2000. That record is regarded as one of the genre’s finest releases and is still inspiring new bands everywhere, 18 years on from its release! Maybe not as prolific at tonight’s main support, ATDI released their long awaited fourth LP ‘in•ter a•li•a‘ last year in which this tour in is support of.
The set tonight is a mix of songs from the latest effort and of course plenty of smashers from Relationship of Command, opening the set on the explosive ‘Arcarsenal‘, which gets the whole room fist pumping and screaming along! It’s a solid start and to be fair the energy is pretty high on both stage and in the crowd.
It’s quite an up and down set for me, starting off high, dipping in the middle with a few slower jams from earlier releases, then kicking off again for the finale. It’s cool to hear them play some older tunes and there’s a couple behind me losing their shit to tracks like ‘Napoleon Solo‘, which is a nice moment for sure! The new songs hold up really well too, and they close their main set on comeback single ‘Governed By Contagions‘, which sounds proper huge; the chorus refrain of ‘Save yourself my darling, save yourself my love‘ is a big singalong and acts like it’s been in their set for years!
Front man Cedric has not lost his edge, throwing his mic stand all over the shop and running around the stage like a man possessed. The fact he manages to do this whilst perfectly retaining his acrobatic vocal style is pretty impressive! His onstage patter is a bit unpredictable, but I guess that’s what helps give the set a punk edge and shows that he still wants to challenge and involve the audience. All in all, there’s lots of good stuff to take away from At The Drive-In’s set tonight and it’s great to finally hear some of these tunes live.
It’s a funny one really, you want to be submersed in nostalgia, but then you have to take a grip on the fact that a lot has changed since the glory days. Tonight makes it clear that those days have passed, but both bands present to us an updated, newer version of themselves which is to be admired. And as I scream, shout and head bang all night long, I realise that the attitude and power of this music still burns bright!
Like what you see? Why not stick around and check out the other articles and interviews!
Don’t forget to follow Birthday Cake For Breakfast on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter