Deathfix at Schubas | Concert preview
Fugazi’s drummer steps out from behind the kit.
Post-hardcore fans pushing into middle age wager bets whether Fugazi will ever tour again. Meanwhile, the D.C. group’s members have kept busy over the past decade: Ian MacKaye with the Evens, Joe Lally as a solo artist and Guy Picciotto as a producer and, more recently, sideman to the late Vic Chesnutt. On the surface, drummer Brendan Canty might seem as if he’s lagging behind, but closer inspection reveals he’s been the most prolific, both behind the scenes as a film maker and now as frontman of Deathfix.
The group started as a collaboration with keyboardist Richard Morel, with whom Canty toured as the rhythm section for Bob Mould a few years back, and since growing Deathfix into a band they’ve found common ground in a rich pop sound more indebted to Roxy Music and David Bowie than the typical punk touchstones associated with the D.C. scene. On its eponymous Dischord debut, Deathfix runs the gamut stylistically, banging out hooky Britpop on “Transmission” and cruising through rubbery funk on “Dali’s House.” The latter finds a smoky-voiced Morel delivering cool, stream-of-consciousness verses about why he’d like to hang out with celebrities like Kanye West (“because he tells you when people suck even if it makes you mad”) and the titular Dali (“because the clocks are dripping and you never know when the party’s over”). If the song harnesses the same rhythmic pulse as many of Fugazi’s deep, dubby grooves, it also lightens the mood lyrically. Maybe not what you’d expect from a band called Deathfix, but Canty seems to have a knack for defying expectations.