Death From Above : NME competition winner’s house, West Norwood

Death From Above : NME competition winner's house, West Norwood

Canadian thrash in a room full of 11-to-15 year olds...

What with [a]Libertines[/a]’ warehouse parties, Franz playing gigs in car parks, The Others commandeering tube trains

and The Futureheads appearing after the bingo at working men’s clubs, 2004 has been the year of the guerrilla gig.

In keeping with this anti-authoritarian let’s-do-the-show-right-here ethos, Canadian drum/bass terrorpunk duo [a]Death From Above[/a] are shunning playing the Barfly in favour of a special one-off exclusive set in the living room of a ‘lucky’ NME competition winner. Yes, tonight 15-year-old Ben Stapleton

has the dubious pleasure of hosting singing drummer Sebastien Grainger and bassist Jesse F Keeler and their ultra-abrasive metalcore assault.

With Ben’s dad on hand to offer the band cups of tea, make sure that valuables are locked away in the family vault and pacify the neighbours, the sofas are pushed up against the walls as an excitable gaggle of ten pubescent kids, Sunny D’d up to gills, are led into a magnolia-walled front room crowded with amps, speakers, drums and synths. For one bizarre night only, the sound of the suburbs comes courtesy of [a]Death From Above[/a]. West Norwood, are you ready to ROCK?

Refusing to leave their gloves on volume-wise, the duo make no exception for their young audience’s fragile ears, provoking a mini-moshpit and much flailing of limbs and dangerous low-flying shoes. One whippersnapper even attempts a spot of crowdsurfing, though with the lack of space it’s less surfing and more like treading water.

Due to the somewhat sensitive nature of the crowd – Ben’s 11-year-old sister and friends are also present – DFA discreetly drop both their song about ejaculation and the one called ‘Dead Womb’ from the set. Ignoring both Mr Stapleton’s petition to play some Earth, Wind And Fire and the crowd’s constant and inexplicable bellowing of “SPINAL TAP! SPINAL TAP!” in-between songs, instead the pair oblige Ben with a request to play a crowd-pleasing cover of Danzig’s ‘Mother’. “I’ve never moshed in my front room before,” enthuses Ben. “Just played a bit of air guitar.” In the corner, two inspired 13-year-old girls are discussing forming a death metal band.

Be warned, parents of the UK: [a]Death From Above[/a] have

already won your children’s minds. Their hearts are next.

Leonie Cooper