I’ve been reading about The Dillinger Escape Plan’s live shows for awhile. With every word, a gaping hole grew larger in my missed experiences file, but, alas, it was soon to be filled.
I’ve never started out a review with a video, but this might be the best way to convey this experience:
From a Virgin Megastore appearance:
OK, so now that you have been appropriately fluffed, here is my review:
I walked in early for The Bled’s set, and was almost immediately knocked over by a mosher. Appropriate. After that song, they had a drum malfunction, causing the usually awkward but well pulled off banter with the crowd. This included the topics of thumb wrestling, Puddle of Mudd, and, of course, beer. There was one particularly riled up dude- let’s call him ‘Puddle of Mudd’ guy, that was obviously there to break stuff. He served as the crowd jester. Once the drum was fixed, the band continued on with their set of perfectly satiating, hardcore punk. The lead singer is rather slight- I don’t know where that scream comes from. It now seems funny in retrospect that our mouth went agape when the bassist jumped into the audience.
Everything was about to pale in comparison to this. It felt like a long long long long wait, but that is only to be expected when bands have to haul their equipment in and out through the audience, and are still setting up their own equipment. It was enough time for me to have what I call my ‘pain beer’- that drink that will numb the bumps and bruises of all the flailing bodies that are about to start moving around.
It wasn’t 5 seconds into the set that multiple band members leaped into the audience. It would be an intense hour.
Bottom of the Hill was made for shows like this. If there were a barrier, or any impending presence of security, it simply wouldn’t work. It was a venue seething in lawless abandon, and we all lapped it up.
The vocalist, Greg, draws many parallels to Henry Rollins, both in appearance and his ‘Cinderella story’. This one giant muscle was a fan that became the singer after the original guy left, just like Rollins did with Black Flag.
There is only one original member surviving, Ben Weinman, who is the root of this band’s mathcore definition- guitarist and technical connoisseur. With the exception of the drummer, I don’t know how any of them can perform these songs without missing a beat while they flail around on stage and in the audience. Over the course of the show the following occurred:
-Greg hangs upside down from a pipe on the ceiling above the crowd
-Greg is screaming in some guy’s face, and Ben jumps on Greg piggy back style while continuing to play
-Ben and Jeff jump into the audience multiple times, while continuing to play
-All members perform some variation on martial arts and Matrix wall-scaling recreations, while continuing to play
-Ben send his guitar into the audience, and it makes it way back after a while
-Multiple audience members crawl all over other audience members and jump on and off the stage
Ah, these things are so rare nowadays. Concerts have become so squeaky clean. I’ll have to admit, I broke my rules– this only happens at NIN, GWAR, and Manson shows…
This setlist looks like it might be accurate- please correct me if I’m wrong:
01. Panasonic Youth
02. 43% Burnt
03. Fix Your Face
05. Setting Fire To Sleeping Giants
06. Baby’s First Coffin
07. When Acting As A Particle
08. Nong Eye Gong
09. Milk Lizard
10. When Good Dogs Do Bad Things
11. Black Bubblegum
12. Sugar Coated Sour
13. Party Smasher
14. Mullet Burden
15. Sunshine The Werewolf
I like Black Bubblegum because it is a bit different than the rest. But there really isn’t a bum song in the set. Neither the crowd nor the band takes a break at any point. They lay it all out there, and by the end, there’s no need for one of those phony encores.
Sweaty, scratched, and bruised, we limp out of BOTH. What a Monday night.
The Dillinger Escape Plan performance: 9.5/10
The Bled performance: 8/10
venue (Bottom of the Hill): 9.5/10
value ($15/ticket): 9.5/10
Fix Your Face
Baby’s First Coffin
When Good Dogs Go Bad
Sunshine the Werewolf