Archives for posts with tag: The Dillinger Escape Plan

This series wouldn’t be complete without experimental math-metal of The Dillinger Escape Plan versus… The Dillinger Escape Plan ?


“Throw more shit faggots”


(First posted on on 10/02/2012)

Disclaimer: As with all my music reviews, this is a blow-by-blow account taken from my own perspective and written mostly for myself as a memory aid. I’m not always an expert on the band in question.

How time flies! The last review was way back in October. I’m only to blame for the lack of gigs though. I missed Mogwai in December after not buying a ticket soon enough and in a fantastic leap of stupidity, I turned up at the wrong venue for Explosions In The Sky and then went home disappointed. The show went on without me and for forty days and forty nights did I weep.  To be fair (and not beat myself up about it any further than I already have), I had no idea that there were two O2 venues in Glasgow. I still haven’t been to a gig in the Academy but now I know that it actually exists I’m sure it won’t be long before I’m there.

So I figured if one gig could bring back a return to form it would be this one. If you like your music loud, your clothes black and your vowels with 2 dots above them, this gig wasn’t to be missed. From a quick glance at the line up it promised to be a big, dirty metalgasm with Red Fang as the up and coming pretenders to the spiky throne of riffs and of course Mastodon who secured a spot in metal world royalty with their latest album, who gained front cover photo shoots coverage on just about every metal magazine worthy of the name and even managed to make a recent appearance on Jools Holland, of which my only disappointment was their lack of an impromptu piano collaboration with the host.

But wait, what’s this? In between the Raw Metal, I spy with my little eye something worth shelling out 20 quid for. For those of you who know me in person, you’ll know I’ve been a fan of Dillinger Escape Plan ever since I was flabbergasted by the intensity and hilarity of their performance supporting for System of a Down about 10 or so years ago now where they were heckled throughout the the majority of their show. I say majority because I’ll never forget how the lead singer hyped up the crowd for the first two minutes of it. When the crowd were just about ready to explode the band opened up to unfollowable jazz-infused screechings. For about 5 seconds the crowd, who were already jumping and jostling to start a pit, stopped, paused, looked at one another and started hurling abuse and beer in the direction of the stage.

Ah, those were the days. There’s a lot I have to say about Dillinger. One of my favourite moments of metal nostalgia is how I used to introduce them to people by introducing their debut album “Calculating Infinity” by letting my victims hear the first five seconds of every track and then skipping it. Their responses went something like this:

Track 1: *eyes go wide*

Track 2: “OK…”

Track 3: “Dude WTF am I listening to?”

Track 4: “They’re playing a groovy interlude now?!?”

Track 5: *laughter*

Track 6: “DUDE. How can you like this?!?”

Track 7: … *head shaking*

Track 8: “What the hell, another interlude?” *more laughter*

Track 9: …

Track 10: … …

Track 11:”Get the fuck out of my house!”

And yet their live shows, particularly their mosh pits, were ferocious. I’m a fairly big guy, always have been, and have been going to pretty lively gigs for a while now and back in the day I lasted about one song. Bear in mind that the average Dillinger tune used to last about 2 minutes tops.

Needless to say Dillinger aren’t for everyone but they’re the real reason I was even at this gig. Mastodon were just a nice cherry on top to convince me that I really needed to be at the show. When I say be at the show, I mean, not be at another venue wondering why no one is queuing up or why the venue is closed. Le sigh…

Any way, before continuing with the review, I want to give massive kudos out to the crowd. The venue was sold out despite (or perhaps because of?) the conflicting styles of music. The people there were all in good spirit and although the bands had a mostly “let the music speak for itself” stage presence, the crowd were interactive throughout, clapping along, singing, jumping around. This was all helped by the great Barras venue which also speaks for itself as a display piece for worldwide talent coming to Scotland and has done since the 1930s. Extra kūdos to the capacity crowd who showed up nice and early to catch Red Fang take the stage just before 7.30pm. Enjoy the umlaut, you deserve it.

It’s easy to draw clear comparisons to Baroness and their label mates Black Tusk. Red Fang got on stage and put out their sludgy, 70s inspired metal to an audience who were always going to have a lot of respect for what they do. The kind of respect that grabs you with a pint in your hand, your shoulders back, chin forward and makes your head nod in time to the riff as that grimace becomes an upturned smile. If I wasn’t focusing on trying to guess when the drawn-out cymbal crashes were going to fall during the some of the more progressive elements of the performance and I actually took a look around I’m pretty sure that I would’ve seen that smile of respect on their faces too. Captivating. Chunky. Red Fang, the next Mastodon?

Now for the part of the show where a section of more traditional metallers in the crowd would endure silently or with grudging applause. Clearly, the Dillinger Escape Plan have come a long way from that first booing they received ten years ago or so when they first arrived on Scotland’s shores.

All those years of jumping into crowds, having fist fights over microphones and taking shits on stage to throw into the crowd have taken their toll on the intensity of the band as well as their line-up. As a result, they played mostly newer, less intense material. I came to see Dillinger for the spectacle of their show but after having seen them 3 times already, on this occasion I was greeted by a different kind of surrealism.

I started at the back of the crowd where I saw kids with their parents headbanging to them. Kids headbanging at a Dillinger gig. Let me show you what’s wrong with that statement. In 2003 they were this:

Nice little face punch at 1 minute 19 there.

More than a little freaked out by the prospect of 10 year olds raised on Dillinger, I jumped into the pit which I actually survived for more than a minute of this time. Actually I spent the rest of the performance there. Fan-dabi-dozy.

As expected, the pit was pretty frantic particularly with lead singer Greg Puciato jumping in from time to time to keep it going. What was also suprising was a strong contingent of the crowd singing along with the majority of his screams where previously people would just go batshit nuts in there. You also have to consider the amount of lyric sheet reading that went on to learn those songs.

This was a new Dillinger Escape Plan – for better or for worse I’m not sure but I’ll be at their next gig whenever that might be. Just to double check of course.

After that performance, Mastodon almost seemed like an afterthought. Not to the majority of the crowd though.

As they opened up with two big tunes from their latest album the  packed-out crowd of 2000 or so felt more like a stadium of people jumping and clapping in unison. From the back of the ballroom you could see waves of people head banging in time, singing along to material from the their latest album like it was their first.

When material from “Leviathan” followed on I realised that there was not one song of Mastodon’s that wasn’t instantly recognisable. They have released album after album of solid content for years now and from the crowd you could see the truth of that. The band take massive crowd pleasing riffs and throw in extremely technical moments to ensure that they aren’t just another wash-rinse-repeat, crowd-pleasing festival band.

Unfortunately I had to leave the gig at 10.30pm to catch the train home so I missed about 30 minutes of their performance but having seen what I had, I was pretty damn satisfied. As a side note, if anyone can fill in any highlights of what happened towards the end of Mastodon’s gig I would really appreciate it

In summary, I can’t admit to being a massive Mastodon fan but as my girlfriend might say, I wouldn’t kick them out of bed for having cold feet. I hope they continue to put out shit-hot material as they have done throughout their career and inspire others to take a more technical approach to metal that goes beyond the simple big riff approach a lot of their contemporaries have stuck with.

As someone who likes intimate, smaller gigs, I don’t find myself saying this often but I’d really like to see the band perform at a larger venue. Having said that, and as I hinted at above, I think they’ll need to up their stage presence before playing larger venues without the help of established bands like Dillinger Escape Plan to put bums on seats. How they do that without sacrificing the technical musicianship they put into their music, I don’t know. If it came down to sacrificing one or the other, clearly, for Mastodon any how, the music comes before the spectacle.