Saturday, April 12, 2014

Live Review: Dillinger Escape Plan at Metro, Chicago 2014

The Dillinger Escape Plan | Trash Talk

Metro - Chicago, IL
April 11, 2014

I have to admit, I was late to the DEP party. The band defies labels, but some songs I heard bordered on noodly mathcore. I'd hear a cool riff in a song, but the band would quickly move onto something else. Fast forward to their 2011 tour supporting Deftones, and I was intrigued by the performance.

Later that evening, they did a headline set at Bottom Lounge that was awe-inspiring:


The fact they also play insanely complicated stuff is just mind-boggling.

After their set at Orion 2013, a chance encounter with Ben and Greg  side stage while watching Deftones sealed the deal. They not only recalled various Chicago shows with great detail, they were incredibly gracious and appreciative. February saw me in San Fransisco for Fear FestEvil, and it was there I ran into Greg once again. At that time, he said I should come check out a show on the upcoming tour. The invite was cool, but there was no way I was missing this show. 

Thanks, Jess and Greg!

Call me a big baby, but for once I actually cherished being in the safety and comfort of VIP while mayhem and destruction played out on the stage and floor below.

I last saw Trash Talk at Subterranean. The crowd was terrifying, but not like the old days of Metal. Rather than being a violent crowd, this one was more about having zero fear of injury. I'm sure this would have appealed to me a few years ago, but in 2012, it didn't take long for me to move upstairs.

Trash Talk's performance at Metro was no less subdued, even if the crowd was a little unsure what to make of the atom bomb of energy that leveled them. Almost immediately, lead singer Lee Spielman, wearing a White Sox jersey with his name on the back, lept out into the crowd to shake things up.

Lee Spielman - walking on the crowd.

For the next hour, chaos reigned. Metro security, usually inept and incapable of properly handling rowdy crowds, mostly let the kids on the floor do whatever the hell they wanted, including those lucky (?) enough to get on stage before diving head first back into the crowd.

Bodies swarming everywhere. Reckless and raw energy everywhere you looked. Except in our section, where I impatiently checked to see where the waitress was with my beer. Back on the floor, tidal waves of bodies crashed into each other.

While not as HOLY FUCK I MAY DIE TONIGHT terrifying as the Subterranean show, this was still one of the better performances I've seen this year. My only gripe was the constant requests from the stage to "put your firsts in the air" and "let's get a circle pit going." It's contrived, forced, and unnecessary. The kids in the crowd were doing all of those things anyway. Leave those cliches to awful bands like Disturbed or Five Finger Death Punch. It's the concert equivalent to an APPLAUSE sign.

DEP exploded out of the gate. They hit the stage and the place exploded. The contrast between the bands was interesting, because at any other show, DEP would be the outsiders with the punk sensibilities. Here, they were the more polished assassins, ready to slice and dice anything in their path.

No crafty writing or clever analogies do DEP justice. The performance is so amazingly balanced between musicianship and total over-the-top destruction that you don't have to like the band to love the show. Seriously.

The Metro's staging and lights don't facilitate the typical acrobatics that go with most DEP shows.   But it was cool to see Ben out amongst the crowd again. The last time I saw DEP, a broken hand forced him to take a seat. Literally.

Ben Weinman - also walking on crowd.

Uniqueness in music is a rarity these days, but DEP defines itself with its signature spazz math metal hardcore assault. The band stands alone in its own fucked up category.

The setlist says they played 16 songs. I can't figure out where the time went, because it's like watching the most griping, edge-of-your-fucking-seat movie ever. You can't take your eye off this band, but before you know it, it's over.

 But not before Greg scaled the sound rig at stage right.

And then proceeded to jump into the crowd, where Ben was already surfing his way around.

Astonishing, exhausting, and amazing. It was my fifth time seeing Dillinger Escape Plan; I should be used to this stuff. But my jaw still dropped. All that I could do was stand there and stare. After the show, I shook my head in disbelief.

If a single person from the Chicago metal scene was at the after party, you could have fooled me. I made a quick exit and met up with friends at Gingerman where we discussed all things metal for much too long.



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