An undeniable party vibe hovered over a nearly sold-out show at Pianos on a very rainy Monday night for You Say Party! We Say Die! This was the band’s second New York show on this tour, their first U.S. visit in four years, and it was obvious that they were as excited about being back as their fans were about having them back.

Hailing from British Columbia, Canada (near Vancouver), YSPWSD’s sound has the spirit of 1980s punk, post-punk and new wave. Their catchy, upbeat songs with subject matter ranging from socio-political awareness and universal love to personal transformation, are also contagiously groovy, as evidenced by most of the crowd dancing right along with lead singer Becky Ninkovic.

In addition to Ninkovic, the band also includes Derek Adam on guitar; Krista Loewen on keyboards; Stephen O’Shea on bass and keyboards; and Devon Clifford on drums, with nearly everyone supplying backing vocals.


The band’s third album, XXXX (a metaphor for love), was released in February on Paper Bag Records. While the new songs are only slightly mellower and reflect a steadier new-wave influence, the band’s punkier side is more evident on older songs. Monday’s set at Pianos was an even mix of old and new material to the delight of the fans. Opening with “There Is XXXX (Within My Heart),” the band performed several new tunes, including “She’s Spoken For,” and “Laura Palmer’s Prom,” which Ninkovic said was “For all you Twin Peaks lovers out there.” Older songs included the 2007 hit “Monster,” as well as “The Gap (Between the Rich and the Poor,” and “Opportunity.”

The band displayed raucous, playful energy throughout the night, and the interaction was the audience was entertaining at the least. Ninkovic admirably engages the crowd, coming off the stage into the audience during one song, and tapping people on the head during another. Clifford supplied a few funny song introductions, as in “And now for a golden oldie from the days of yore, when we all wore diapers and suckled our teets,” before the band launched into “What’s the Holdup? Where’s the Fire?” To close the evening YSPWSD revved the audience with the call and response chant that gave them their name (“You Say Party! We Say Die!”), which also the title of the last song, featuring vocals from Adam. The band kicked into overdrive, with Ninkovic jumping on the drum kit before banging her tambourine on the floor, and Clifford falling over the drums at the end. –Teresa Sampson, Photos and video by Tear-n Tan

  1. It is with sadness that I report that Devon Clifford, drummer with You Say Party! We Say Die!, passed away on Sunday, April 18 at age 30. Devon collapsed during a performance in Vancouver on Friday and passed away Sunday morning.


    I had the pleasure of seeing You Say Party! We Say Die! and meeting Devon while the band was in New York recently. He was an amazing and talented performer, and a nice, very witty guy. He will be missed by family, friends and fans alike.

    Teresa Sampson


  2. DEVON CLIFFORD 1979 – 2010 R.I.P.

    As the news continues to spread, we realize many of you are already aware of the recent passing of Devon Clifford, drummer of Canadian five-piece You Say Party! We Say Die! For those who haven’t yet heard, it is with the heaviest of hearts to inform you of this sudden and tragic loss of a truly wonderful, vivid, talented and passionate young man whom we had the sincere pleasure of knowing and working with.

    Our hearts are with Devon’s family and friends, and the remaining members of the band.

    The Clifford Family Issued the following statement regarding the passing of Devon Clifford:
    “YSPWSD’s Devon Clifford experienced a massive brain hemorrhage resulting from congenital defects while on stage in Vancouver on Friday night and fell into a coma. A surgery was performed but sadly doctors were unable to save his life. He was 30.

    Devon Clifford was an extremely gifted drummer and determined character. He loved his family, loved his band, loved traveling, loved being on stage and loved meeting people around the world. He was smart, witty, passionate, and music meant everything to him. He was also incredibly generous with his love and respected everybody he came into contact with. This was underlined by his work with the under privileged at the Portland Hotel Society.

    The Clifford family would like to take this opportunity to remind young people to have the courage to follow their dreams like Devon did.

    The family would also like to take this opportunity to thank everybody around the world for their kind words and stories about how Devon impacted their lives.”