The Dillinger Escape Plan

Gig Review: The Dillinger Escape Plan, Glasgow Garage, 5th August 2011

In a time where riots are widespread across England and Cher Lloyd sits comfortably at the top of the UK singles charts, it seems fitting that one of the angriest bands in the world should stroll into town and cause some chaos. There may be no hatred in the room tonight, but there is mayhem by the bucketload.

Last Words (7) kick things off, a local band who play a technical kind of rock, albeit not quite as technical as the headliners. It’s an appropriate sound, they’re clearly glad to be part of tonight’s bill, and I’m positive they won some new fans. They do need to tighten their live performance a bit, which is important when you specialise in keeping the listener on their toes, but it’s something that they will learn naturally as they experience more in the live environment.

Their drummer may be down an arm tonight due to an injury sustained two weeks ago, but that doesn’t dampen any of We Are Knuckle Dragger’s (8) destructive set. While they deserve 8 out of 10 for their song titles alone (“Massive When Flaccid”, “Steel Toe-Capped Sandal”), they put on a show that is similar to Opeth in its complexity and its contrasting nature, but they spend a lot more time rocking harder, and even at times having some groove and swagger. Their light-hearted banter and stage presence just adds to their overall charm, and when they ask the crowd if they’ll come party with them later in the year when they return to Glasgow, the response implies that everyone in the room will be seeing them again soon.

Anticipation for the Dillinger Escape Plan (9) at any show is electric. A fair amount of people in attendance tonight saw them in the same venue last year, so there’s an air of expectation to top just how crazy that show was. Thankfully, DEP are aware of this and are happy to join in – within the first few seconds of opener “Farewell, Mona Lisa”, vocalist Greg Puciato is already on the barrier surrounded by a mob of mental fans all jumping, screaming, flailing, or a combination of all three.

This can be worrying – bands can peak too early and not manage to keep the energy going. However, DEP don’t believe in calming down, or slow songs (apart from the calming intro to “Widower”), so from “Farewell, Mona Lisa” right into “Fix Your Face” then to “Chinese Whispers”, there is not a single moment where both band and crowd are standing still.

Being a Dillinger Escape Plan gig, there has to be a fair share of exploration by the band of the venue. Last time, lead guitarist Ben Weinman shimmied across the balcony and let go to be caught by the crowd. This time, while he again shimmied across the balcony, he instead opted to walk on top of the audience while still playing, note-perfect, until he found a light to swing from on the balcony’s ledge. The light came free, Ben fell to the ground, only to be hoisted aloft once again to continue playing, note-perfect. It’s special things like this that happen at Dillinger Escape Plan gigs that make all other bands seem a little tame and dull.

A pretty flawless setlist makes sure that there’s enough to keep everyone happy – plenty of songs are aired from last year’s “Option Paralysis”, but early tracks such as “The Mullet Burden” and the Mike Patton-era “When Good Dogs Do Bad Things” sit comfortably next to newer material like the brutal “Good Neighbor.” There’s even a cover of Nirvana’s “Territorial Pissings” allowing the band to switch instruments for a few minutes.

The Dillinger Escape Plan are a band to be proud of. They have never compromised, they have always made the record they wanted to make, and they always deliver in the live environment. They make so-called “metal” bands seem dull and lifeless, and they have put energy, excitement and danger back into the touring circuit.

     

About Scott Wilson

Having spent the last twenty years of his life telling his friends his opinion of the latest release by every band he has ever heard of, Scott is an enthusiastic journalist and keen writer. A fan of every genre of music, though his heart firmly belongs to rock, he has been spending far too much money on gigs and not enough on digs. Reachable by either email or Twitter where copious amounts of commentating and general excitement can also be found.

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