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SXSW Recap: Where Were You When Death from Above 1979 Started a Riot?

Braids
Braids
photo by Siran Babayan

Had we known we'd be stuck in the middle of a riot trying to catch Death from Above 1979, we would've stayed put for art-pop group Braids on the festival's final night. Another one of the SXSW's buzzed-about and hardest working bands, the four Canadian 20- and 21-year olds performed at Club de Ville, the last of their whopping nine shows. Their recently-released debut, Native Speaker, is a moody and atmospheric affair resembling the Cocteau Twins and Ladytron, with shoegaze-inspired guitars and synths, and singer Raphaelle Standell-Preston's Karen O-meets-Elizabeth Fraser vocals.

 

Fans Outside Death from Above 1979
Fans Outside Death from Above 1979
photo by Siran Babayan

Unfortunately, the night went from soothing to smelly chaos for Death from Above 1979. Billed as special guests in the festival's guidebook -- that's SXSW talk for run don't walk - the dance-metal, bass-and-drums duo of Jesse F. Keeler and Sebastien Grainger was scheduled to play at 1 a.m., the first of their reunion dates (including Coachella). After releasing only one album in 2004 and breaking up two years later, we were curious to say the least.

But the Beauty Bar Backyard reached capacity more than an hour prior, leaving a lot of restless fans standing in a piss-soaked alley lined with dumpsters. Kids climbed the backs of trucks, trees and even a rooftop to get a peak. After the barrier fence was taken down, mounted police had to interrupt the show. But the band was able to calm the crowd before finishing their set.

YouTube credit AshEmHughAngus


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