Gapers Block has ceased publication.

Gapers Block published from April 22, 2003 to Jan. 1, 2016. The site will remain up in archive form. Please visit Third Coast Review, a new site by several GB alumni.
 Thank you for your readership and contributions. 


Monday, April 15

Gapers Block

Gapers Block on Facebook Gapers Block on Flickr Gapers Block on Twitter The Gapers Block Tumblr

« Richard Kaufman Discusses the CSO's Pixar in Concert Vic Mensa Rocks the Metro (Nov. 28) »

Review Mon Dec 01 2014

Death From Above 1979 Came Down on the Riviera

DFA1979.jpgThere is nearly a ten year gap between Death From Above 1979's You're a Woman, I'm a Machine and their second album The Physical World. One would think that with so much time having passed that Jesse F. Keeler and Sebastien Grainger would have lost a step or at the very least drifted to far from their initial sound. It's a fair concern considering how different the two member may be. Luckily, these notions could easily placed aside with the release of The Physical World. DFA1979 continues right where they left off by elevating the melodic undertones of their sound to the forefront while maintaining the heavy rock.They have been touring in support of their reformation and made their way to the Riviera last week for one of the loudest shows of the year.

Biblical came to the stage to the sonic backdrop of an old timey announcer rambling on about decoder rings and various oddities. The band broke in into their long jamming songs metal songs to s slightly reserved crowd. The venue was barely half full for Biblical, whose frontman Nick Sewell made mention of the Wednesday crowd's tepidness. Luckily this livened the crowd up a bit, not wanting to be thought of as timid in front of this heavy rock band. Bibical's songs were long and winding that had an epic feel to them. In between songs small interludes played including an after school special sounding announcement on drugs, namely LSD. It certainly matched the sentiment of the music, which often fell into this really stoner brooding that guitarist Matt Mclaren embodied with a methodical back and forth teetering throughout the 40 minute set.

Any calm and shyness that had occupied the Riviera's crowd was torn away as the lights dimmed on the stage as the eyes of Death From Above 1979's logo lit red. People surged forward quickly taking every step they could to get closer to the stage as the simple toned of "Turn It Out" made way for the thrashing guitars and drums of the song's body. It's the opening track off their first album You're a Woman, I'm a Machine and it was the exact way you would want a DFA1979 concert to start. The crowd at the Riviera riled up in an instant and seemed to have merged into one unbelievably tumultuous mass. They became sea teeming with crowd surfers and bodies constantly crashing in rhythm to DFA1979's riotous sound.

The crowd was absolutely nuts for DFA1979, who played the entirety of their second album The Physical World throughout the show and peppered the highlights from their previous work. The sheer amount of crowd surfers who dared traverse the moshing audience was nearly inexplicable until you realize how freeing DFA1979's music is. Dance is a term that often gets attached to their heavy punk sound and it makes sense. It practically convinces one to hop on to the wave. Their songs make you want to move around, whether that movement be insane moshing or manic jumping to the beat. Listening to Keeler ad Grainger tear into their see-through instruments on "You're a Woman, I'm a Machine" before going into "Go Home, Get Down" was amazing. Keeler would occasionally turn his bass right into the speaker, using its reverb to cause even more chaotic panic in the songs.

The setlist had an undeniably fun flow, which is a credit to how well the band's new songs fit in with their old ones. "Little Girl" lead way to a childlike voice screaming "fuck the government!" to introduce "Government Trash". These songs were made a decade a part, but sound sonically close. This sense of similarity despite the long wait between albums is definitely a criticism over the band's return and is not lost on the duo. "Right On, Frankenstein!" and "Always On" make reference to coming back to unreal expectations. I think in the eyes of everyone at the Riviera, both the songs and the band however pulled off the return with a spectacular show.

The DFA chants from the audience managed to break through the high pitched that had manifested squeal in my ears. The band's logo pulsated between a rainbow of colors as they returned to end the night. The encore acted as a nice summary of Death From Above 1979's career up to this point. The haunting lullaby vocals of "Dead Womb" started the final three songs of the night. It's the first song off from their initial EP Head On making it quite possibly the first song of theirs that many fans heard. It was certainly mine and it brought me back to quickly turning down the volume as the song screamed through my headphones. This time around there was no chance of protecting my ears, the sound blew through the room with the intensity it deserved. It led into one of the band's more well-known songs "Romantic Rights" with its strong leading guitar riff that stutters down the song. Much like the rest of their catalog, the song hovers between grating moshing and utterly danceable. The set came to a close with "The Physical World" the final song off the eponymous album. The beginning, middle, and end of the show were condensed into these three songs perfectly. I left the show partially deaf, with songs ringing in my ears for days.

GB store
GB store

Feature Thu Dec 31 2015

Our Final Transmission Days

By The Gapers Block Transmission Staff

Transmission staffers share their most cherished memories and moments while writing for Gapers Block.

Read this feature »


  Chicago Music Media

Alarm Magazine
Big Rock Candy Mountain
Boxx Magazine
Brooklyn Vegan Chicago
Can You See The Sunset From The Southside
Chicago Reader Music
Chicagoist Arts & Events
Chicago Music Guide
Chicago Singles Club
Country Music Chicago
Cream Team
Dark Jive
The Deli Chicago
Jim DeRogatis
Fake Shore Drive
Gowhere Hip Hop
The Hood Internet
Jaded in Chicago
Largehearted Boy
Little White Earbuds
Live Fix Blog
Live Music Blog
Loud Loop Press
Oh My Rockness
Pop 'stache
Pop Matters
Resident Advisor
Sound Opinions
Sun-Times Music Blog
Theft Liable to Prosecution
Tribune Music
UR Chicago
Victim Of Time
WFMU's Beware of the Blog
Windy City Rock


Abbey Pub
Andy's Jazz Club
Aragon Ballroom
Auditorium Theatre
Beat Kitchen
Bottom Lounge
Buddy Guy's Legends
The Burlington
California Clipper
Concord Music Hall
Congress Theater
Cubby Bear
Double Door
Elbo Room
Empty Bottle
Green Mill
The Hideout
Honky Tonk BBQ
House of Blues
Kingston Mines
Lincoln Hall
Logan Square Auditorium
Mayne Stage
The Mutiny
Old Town School of Folk Music
Park West
The Promontory
Red Line Tap
Reggie's Rock Club & Music Joint
The Riviera
Thalia Hall
The Shrine
Symphony Center
Tonic Room
Uncommon Ground
The Vic
The Whistler

  Labels, Promoters
  & Shops:

Alligator Records
Beverly Records
Bloodshot Records
Dave's Records
Delmark Records
Drag City
Dusty Groove
Flameshovel Records
Groove Distribution
He Who Corrupts
Jam Productions
Jazz Record Mart
Kranky Records
Laurie's Planet of Sound
Minty Fresh
Numero Group
mP Shows
Permanent Records
Reckless Records
Smog Veil Records
Southport & Northport Records
Thick Records
Thrill Jockey Records Touch & Go/Quarterstick Records
Victory Records

GB store


Featured Series


Transmission on Flickr

Join the Transmission Flickr Pool.

About Transmission

Transmission is the music section of Gapers Block. It aims to highlight Chicago music in its many varied forms, as well as cover touring acts performing in the city. More...
Please see our submission guidelines.

Editor: Sarah Brooks,
Transmission staff inbox:



Transmission Flickr Pool
 Subscribe in a reader.

GB store

GB Store

GB Buttons $1.50

GB T-Shirt $12

I ✶ Chi T-Shirts $15