The Dillinger Escape Plan are a band that I had seen only once before tonight’s show. On that first occasion, they were 2nd support for Mastadon at the prestigious Barrowlands Ballroom where they were loud, brash and distinctly smug. A set of characteristics that, you could say, have negative connotations but with Dillinger it just seems to be a few of the reasons why they work so well onstage. When you see Dillinger onstage you get a completely different experience from listening to them through a pair of headphones. They seem to be able to harness otherworldly power and energy and unleash it on a live audience like no other band I’ve ever seen before or likely ever will.
Dillinger come racing out the traps with new album opener ‘Prancer’ which sets the pace for a frantic 70 minute set. The crowd who have came out on this cold Bonfire Night in Glasgow are about to be exposed to a show better than any fireworks display.
Prancer gives way immediately to ‘Farewell, Mona Lisa’, the first single of 2010’s Option Paralysis. A haunting track that gives a glimpse of Greg’s range as he drops the shouting and screaming midway through the track to reveal his more melodic side, something I personally would like to hear more of. Once again the screams of a tormented mind come raining over us and the crowd begin to move and sway in what is building to a crescendo. Greg ironically stating “there’s no feeling in this place” seconds before he, and 750 pent up Glaswegians burst into a full on riot.
The quiet lull between tracks is tangible, even if only for a split second as we come down from such a burst of energy and rise back into crowd favourite Milk Lizard. “..and you were there” damn right we were! The show then turns into a shouty, distorted, adrenaline-fueled blur for the next two tracks. I could literally count the number of distinguishable words from Panasonic Youth and Room Full of Eyes of one hand, not that it matters all that much as I’m still having a absolute blast. I’m not the only one enjoying the show. Ben Weinman is jumping off anything in his line of sight. He’s like a caged animal, pacing the 2 square meters of stage he’s been confined to for the evening.
The funky Black Bubblegum ringing out now and Greg once again showing that when he attempts to do so, he can actually deliver a tuneful performance, something he doesn’t show very often, preferring the raspy nod natuarally distorted vocals which deliver his words with an anger only he seems able to do. A quick burst of frenetic drums and guitar sees Fix Your Face flash by in a sub-3-minute explosion. A few palm-muted notes are succeeded by a riff that sounds like it’s straight out of Edward Scissorhands, it’s weirdly-named Gold Teeth on a Bum giving us a breather at the halfway point.
We’re treated to an angst-riddled Hero of the Soviet Union. The only thing letting me down during this song is noticing that bassist Liam Wilson is sporting a pair of white socks and shoes that look like crocs, not quite as Rock ‘n Roll as the song suggests they are…
What was to happen during the next track is still beyond my comprehension. Ben Weinman, our “caged animal” guitarist who has been eyeing up an escape route finally makes a leap for it. Pouncing from the stage while still playing his guitar he lands upright on top of the crowd and proceeds to walk on the hands, shoulders, hands and heads of those below him. Completing a circle of the crowd and returning back to the stage to complete the final piece of Nothing’s Funny. Amazing.
The song I’ve been waiting for is creeping in via a smooth bass line and eery tinkle from the high-hat. Greg treats us to his softer side again with the quiet, almost haunting lyrics of One of Us is the Killer. The music stops halfway through the chorus allowing the crowd to play its part, “…but the killer won’t survive”.
A rather non-remarkable rendition of Crossburner is churned out but to be fair I think the crowd is just catching its breath again before we get caught up in Dead As History which, when it kicks in, just has this awesome crunchy hook that picks you up and fires you into mosh-mode! It’s over too soon but there’s no waiting about before Good Neighbor is unleashed and has an already drained crowd’s heads and hands thrusting and stabbing into the thick smokey air.
When I Lost My Bet and Aphex Twin cover Come To Daddy are fired out with the same level of intensity that has preceded them and the crowd are almost dead on their feet before the last track of the set, 43% Burnt, during which Puciato scales the balcony from the stage and dives straight into the heaving crowd below who envelope him before launching him back towards the stage. A nice touch from Greg, high-fixing and shaking hands of those whom he placed his trust in before sticking the middle finger up to gravity and taking off!
Tonight I was asked if I was attending the firework display taking place at the other side of the city, I responded with a chuckle and an emphatic “No, I’m heading somewhere a little more explosive. I’m going to see Dillinger”. As expected, I’m leaving the gig and I’m not disappointed!