No Sleepy Monday Night: Death From Above 1979 And The OBGMs Refuse To Let Fine Line


Be careful who you have open your shows. I have made this warning before but, clearly, some bands didn’t heed the said warning. Case in point- Monday night’s show. I was excited for the headliner Death From Above 1979 (who I will refer to as DFA1979 throughout this review). Really, I was. Thinking back, I don’t think I had ever seen them before and I was stoked to cross them off my list but the opener stole the show. Wait, that’s an understatement. They ran away with the show to the point that when they were done, my boyfriend and I looked at each other completely floored with that “so do you want to stay or just head out” look. It was to no fault of DFA1979. They were great. It was more than the opener was killer and there was just no recovering from that.

Let’s start this review at the end. DFA1979 is one of those bands that I don’t think of often but, when they hit my speakers on a random playlist, I find myself stopping everything to just enjoy the music. Their sound is a bit all over the place when you start digging into it you find specific elements nodding to noise and punk. Regardless of what nods you pick up on throughout their music, there’s no denying the sheer amount of power that this duo has. That’s right, I said duo. Somehow DFA1979 has pulled off a huge full-band sound with just two men and that, alone, is just absolutely staggering to me.

I had an idea in my head what I wanted DFA1979’s set to be like and that’s what I got. A wall of sound hit me like a punch to the gut as soon as they took the stage. Lights were whirling around the packed Fine Line as the band powered through a twenty-one-song set followed up by a two-song encore. Although I had tried to check out after the openers set and will stand by saying that DFA1979 didn’t stand a chance to steal back the show, I found myself stuck in DFA1979’s world and I was more than happy with that. I felt that they were one of the few bands that can overtake all of your senses by just stepping on stage. It’s a weird thing. There was no distinct smell or feel to their set but I felt almost incapacitated by the power they were displaying throughout their set.

This all sounds great, right? And they were. Don’t get me wrong, DFA1979 absolutely killed it with a flawless set showcasing their unique sound and style. Up against nearly any other band, they would have been the stars of the night but enter– The OBGMs.

This four-piece band took the stage and instantly introduced themselves as a Nickleback cover band from Toronto, Ontario, Canada. Okay, obviously they were not a Nickleback cover band but starting their set off with this sense of humor instantly sparked my attention. As they jumped into their first song, that attention turned into obsession almost instantly. Like DFA1979, The OBGMs’ musical style is a bit all over the place. It’s fast-paced and full of angst and fun at the same time creating a super cool and unique atmosphere. With peeks into a pop-punk base with faster punk-rock vibes and just a straight-up rock ‘n roll attitude, I was enthralled in their music but it was honestly their live performance that was the cherry on top.

Using “We drove all the way from Toronto” as a reason for everyone in the audience to be dancing didn’t seem to work on the sleepy Monday night audience so vocalist Densil McFarlane took things into his own hands. By the time their forty-five-minute set was done, Densil had spent the same amount of time (if not more) in the audience as he did on stage. He refused to let anyone just let their set pass them by and, although this tactic has come off as cheesy and over-the-top to me before, it felt honest and real with the way he did it and even had me crouching on the floor when he said to and clapping when he demanded that we do so. Although he was barking a lot of orders at the audience, the reasons he felt people should be getting involved in their set were hilarious. From “We drove all the way from Toronto” to “It’s too late [in the set]… you have to fuck with us!”, Densil’s commentary had me roaring in laughter all the while trying not to miss a single note, or word from the band.

From the saddest stage dive where Densil literally just leaned into the audience and hoped for the best (it turned out okay and he ended up crowd surfing for a wee bit) to the most disappointing wall of death that came with an epic wind-up (he had the entire room split down the middle but, when push came to shove, people just seemed a bit confused) I found myself laughing constantly through the set to the point where my cheeks hurt when it was all said and done. I wanted more, oh so much more, and I was not the only one. The OBGMs’ merch table was flooded by new fans immediately after their set and I was one of those who choose to stand in line to grab a shirt. Bassist Joseph Brosnan had been given merch duties which has to be super overwhelming after just killing it on stage but he took the time to get the name of everyone who had come up to him. Some people approached the table just to explain their excitement over the band and Joseph took the time to hear them out and thank each of them. Why am I telling you this small detail about the night? Because this meant everything to me. This band is grinding and this was a perfect example of said grind. Although sweaty and probably exhausted, these band members spent the break between the two acts mingling with their fans and selling their own merch. Did I need another black t-shirt? Absolutely not but I needed to experience the joy that they were feeling and I am so glad I did.

I’ve said it before and I will say it again– be careful who you have open your shows. Pick a band that’s too good and they will try hard to steal the show from you.