Death Come to Life at NYC’s (Le) Poisson Rouge [Exclusive Photos]
If there was one thing the band Death proved last night (July 2) at (Le) Poisson Rouge in New York City, it’s that their music is bigger than the time (1974) and place (Detroit) in which it was created. And it may be bigger than the band itself.
In 1974, Death cut seven songs for Columbia Records. They remained hidden proto-punk gems until 2009, when they were re-released by Drag City Records. Last night the band — minus leader David Hackney, who died in 2000 — lead a sweaty, reverent crowd through a lightning-bolt set of those songs and a few more.
Death’s three surviving members have been playing together in different acts for years, and standing before a rapt (Le) Poisson Rouge audience, they played like they had nothing to prove.
“We’ve got families, we’ve got mortgages; we live our lives just like anyone else, you know?” bassist and singer Bobby Hackney told Diffuser.fm in a pre-show interview. “But we’re veteran musicians, and we did stick around to be able to enjoy this when the opportunity came.”
Speaking later from the stage, Bobby announced, “We were just three young black cats from the east side of Detroit who loved rock and roll.”
The band stomped and smiled through ‘Freakin’ Out’ and ‘Let the World Turn.’ Bobby Hackney still sounds exactly like H.R. from Bad Brains, the pioneering hardcore band Death notably predated. As the crowd cheered, the band soaked it in. It’s clear the acknowledgement is new to them, and that they love it.
“I think by coming late, [fame] finds us a bit more mature, knowledgeable about the business, with a bit more professionalism,” drummer Dannis Hackney said before the show. “If time don’t teach you nothing, find another business.”