Molson Canadian Studio 1 Summers Lane

I don’t believe in having any regrets in life. But I did always have one: never seeing Death From Above 1979 play live.

I remember when they played here at the Underground around the release of their only full length album to date, 2004’s You’re A Woman, I’m A Machine and I really wanted to go. I didn’t quite have the moxie I do now to venture out to a show on my own and didn’t know who would go with me at the time. When the band announced their breakup in 2006, I thought I had missed my shot and always kicked myself for it.

DFA1979 announced their reunion in 2011, starting with some one-off shows and hitting the festival circuit. There was hope! In September they revealed they would be hitting the road for a string of dates (“Song CPR,” as Sebastien called it) in a blog post aptly titled, “Ok.” The first city on the list – my very own Hamilton, Ontario. YES.

Official tour poster. Photo from Death From Above 1979.

The show sold out (no surprise there) and there was a lot of anticipation to see Sebastien Grainger and Jesse F. Keeler together again, playing their classic songs and new material. The night of the show, Sebastien posted another blog, “One Night Only” and I loved its message:

“Forget the future, forget that past. It’s you and us together tonight.”

They asked that no audio and video be captured of the show, and I was sad to see that request was denied by someone at this show, the first night into the tour. I knew going into the show that it would be difficult to capture anyway, since it would get a bit rowdy once the band started (I held my own at the periphery of the mosh pit) but after reading Sebastien’s post, I really made it a point to not even try to capture anything.

It made me think. Many of us have this incessant need to record every little thing. Of course, you see me out and about with my phone, camera, and notepad, trying to capture as much as I can. Running a blog, it’s part of the gig, but it never hinders my ability to be in the moment and experience the present. So I loved the message of Sebastien’s post and was sad to see someone dishonour it so quickly.

Banner above the stage. Taken with Instagram.

Kingston duo PS I Love You opened the show and I was pleased to see them, having heard a lot about them and I’ve missed them when they played here before. They were the perfect choice for DFA1979 to bring on the road. I even learned some trivia the following week – drummer Benjamin Nelson designed some of Young Rival‘s new merch!

When DFA1979 hit the stage, anticipation was high. Hearing them launch into the first song of their set, the titled track, “You’re A Woman, I’m A Machine,” there was an incredible energy right away and that energy continued for the whole show. The guys noted during their set that when they first hooked up again to get this tour going, Hamilton was the city they thought of to kick things off. They played an extensive set including an encore, asking the audience what else we wanted to hear. At one point, Sebastien pressed play on “Sexy Results” before stopping it to let us know he was just kidding, adding they’ve never played that song live. I thought we’d get the exclusive there, for a second!

Their new material sounds as fresh as ever and the crowd was receptive, although hearing their classic tunes really sent everyone into a frenzy. My hats off to the men working security at the front, dutifully snatching up the crowd surfers who launched into the stage’s direction. They kept everybody safe and that cannot be an easy job.

Even though this post isn’t up to my usual detailed account, I have to log it and say that it really meant so much to me to be in the presence of this amazing band. It will forever go down as a highlight of live music I’ve witnessed and I’m so happy my 17-year-old self got to finally fulfill the goal of seeing DFA1979 live.

Thank you, Sebastien and Jesse for choosing to kick off your tour in Hamilton, and please come back!

– Kristin

Kristin Archer is the creator of I Heart Hamilton (, where she has blogged about experiences around her hometown since 2011, growing a social media presence along the way. Encouraging locals to “be a tourist in your own city,” she promotes arts and culture across her various social media platforms, blog, and weekly radio show on 93.3 CFMU.

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