DEATH FROM ABOVE 1979 with THE CURE, CITY AND COLOUR, METRIC, THE NEW PORNOGRAPHERS, DEATH CAB FOR CUTIE and many more as part of RIOT FEST, at Downsview Park (35 Carl Hall), Saturday (September 6), gates 11 am. Single day pass, $95-$150; two-day pass $180-$290. TF, riotfest.org
When scrappy Toronto hard rock duo Death from Above 1979 announced in 2011 that they were reuniting for some shows, they took their sweet time confirming that a sequel to their critically acclaimed 2004 debut, You're A Woman, I'm A Machine, was coming. Turns out their evasiveness wasn't about trying to cultivate a mysterious image around their upcoming album, The Physical World (Last Gang/Warner), but rather a reflection of how unsure they were about reviving the project.
"We'd secretly started playing together again in 2010, but it wasn't until we started doing shows that we even considered recording something new," drummer/vocalist Sebastien Grainger admits between rehearsals.
"It was really just an experiment to see if we still liked the music, and if other people still liked the music and the band. We weren't really sure of that, because it's one thing to read comments online where people talk about the band in a hypothetical sense, but it really took getting out there and playing in front of an actual audience."
One of the first things Grainger and bassist Jesse Keeler noticed when they got onstage again was how their fan base had changed. The intensity and level of interest surprised them, suggesting that their momentum hadn't really slowed after they broke up in 2006.
"We had a growing audience and kids were coming to the shows back in the day, but it never hit that moment where people are singing along the whole time. That didn't happen until we came back. They did have five years to learn the lyrics, I guess."
Grainger says things are running much more smoothly this time, and that's reflected in the confident assertiveness of the new recordings. A big factor for him is no longer feeling like he has to be defensive about the band's sonic identity.
"Nobody is trying to fit us in some other box any more, because we built our own box 10 years ago."