Before last Friday, I saw THE DILLINGER ESCAPE PLAN four other times, each one as unique and amazing live as the other. The first time I saw them play, it was a special show after their set with the DEFTONES in Baltimore, Maryland in the back room of what used to be The Sonar. The room was about twice the size of my living room, packed to the maximum, and the band did not hold anything back (in fact, security ended up having to hold A/C units up.) Other times I saw TDEP live, they played with bands such as MASTODON, RED FANG, and the rest of the supporting acts from the 2013 Summer Slaughter Tour. Every single time, vocalist Greg Pucatio puts his body on the line, as well as guitarist Ben Weinman, and bassist Liam Wilson. Whether it is diving from the balcony (twice) from The Trocadero into the crowd, diving from the balcony at The Union Transfer, pulling their fans onstage to chime in on various songs at any venue, or shredding while in the middle of a raucous mosh pit in the middle of Philadelphia, THE DILLINGER ESCAPE PLAN puts on a
live performance that is yet to be rivaled in the metal community.
I arrived at the venue, unaffiliated with any credentials other than my ticket and my closest buddies from home. The first act on was SHINING, straight out of Norway. This is a four-piece progressive-jazz rock band who I had never heard a thing about before arriving in Philadelphia last night. By the time they were off the stage they had my attention for sure. The fact is, not many bands can incorporate jazz instruments into the rock or metal genre with it sounding like it belongs there. SHINING is a band that makes that idea look like it has all been done before because of how smooth the transition was between riffing on guitars, sweeping keys on the keyboard, and adding the off-timed, progressive sounds that reminded me of TDEP‘S record Option Paralysis, but with a saxophone. In all, they were a pleasant surprise and a very tasteful act that any music enthusiast should be able to appreciate.
Another band that immediately stood out for a number of reasons was TRASH TALK. These guys have a reputation for sincerely not caring about where the show may end up once it starts (quite literally.) In fact, at SXSW, their set was shut down early because they moved their show out onto a patio in the middle of a street. The cops broke everything up within a matter of minutes. When I asked about how it all went down, I was told “we turned up on the streets and the cops weren’t having it.” As soon as I heard that story, I was completely intrigued by them (and it also helped that they are signed to Odd Future Records as a hardcore, punk band, which was refreshing to see a label go cross genre and be successful.) TRASH TALK didn’t leave the pushing of legal boundaries behind at SXSW though, as they were front and center, sparking a blunt on stage and passing it through the crowd in Philadelphia. For those who exist for the punk rock, crusty hardcore scene, I highly recommend giving TRASH TALK your full attention.
Then, it was time for the moment that I was waiting for all week. THE DILLINGER ESCAPE PLAN not only arrived on stage, but they took that stage ransom with the rest of Philadelphia. Leaving exactly off where they did when they closed in 2013 at Union Transfer, they opened this show with a flash mob of fans onstage pushing each other around during their song “Prancer.” From the first song on, there was no stoppage of stage diving, crowd interaction, and sheer chaos. I loved every single second of it. Philadelphia has always been a home away from home for THE DILLINGER ESCAPE PLAN (bassist Liam Wilson is from there,) so the fans are always in for a treat when they stop through the city. A few surprises this time around featured “Happiness Is A Smile” being played, which is only available on a vinyl single sold on tour with other unique merch (like the limited tour print, bright pink tour posters that you have to cross your fingers in hopes that they are still available when they come to your city.) Also, from the Irony Is a Dead Scene EP when Mike Patton was the vocalist of the group, Greg Pucatio surprised everyone when he and his comrades started playing their APHEX TWIN cover of “Come to Daddy.” That, of course, was part of the encore for those who stuck around.
As usual, THE DILLINGER ESCAPE PLAN completed their set (finale and all) with “Sunshine the Werewolf.” Every single time I see them live, chills go up my spine when I hear this song. I must say though, my sentimental favorite of their entire set came from the Option Paralysis album when they played “Room Full of Eyes.”
Above all though, I can genuinely say that every band I saw Friday night was incredible in their own unique way. One of the true beauties of going to a DILLINGER ESCAPE PLAN show is that they play with bands they like, not ones who sound like them. In most instances, when a fan leaves, they do so discovering another band that they like and can easily get into. This time around, I want to give a shout out to SHINING and TRASH TALK in hopes that they get the recognition that they deserve for putting on a good live show. I think at this point, it goes without saying that THE DILLINGER ESCAPE PLAN is the best live show going currently. If you get the chance, even if you are not into metal, seeing them live is
an experience that should be a top priority or on a bucket list, whether you know better or not.
LIVE REVIEW BY MR. REESE
LIVE PHOTOS BY CMZ PHOTOGRAPHY