Long Live The Dillinger Escape Plan; We’ll Never Forget You


Once more unto the breach with The Dillinger Escape Plan for their final Melbourne show.



At first, the idea of Melbourne’s Closure In Moscow opening up for The Dillinger Escape Plan seems like a bit of an odd fit. But before this funky, psychedelic progressive-rock band had even finished their first song, it became very apparent that they were, in fact, one of the best choices to support a band like Dillinger. Sure, others like DriveTime Commute, Arteries, Statues, Junkhead, and The Orphan would’ve also worked very well but maybe not to the same interesting, contrasting effect as this bill. I mean, Closure In Moscow are a really fucking weird band, but so too are the headliners when you look past their far heavier sound and you get right down to their eclectic, experimental sides.

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Admittedly, the last time I paid Closure In Moscow any real attention was A) when they supported My Chemical Romance back in 2012 at Festival Hall and B) during ‘The Penance and the Patience‘ days back in 2008. (I still have that CD somewhere at my parent’s house). That EP featured these rippin’, Dance Gavin Dance/Circa Survive-like post-hardcore tunes such as ‘We Want Guarantees, Not Hunger Pains‘ and ‘Here’s To Entropy‘. Of course, that period in this Melbourne group’s history has well and truly been left behind in favour of their evolved, eccentric ‘Pink Lemonade‘ (2014) and ‘First Temple‘ (2009) material. With each member tightly performing their respective roles for songs like ‘Seeds Of Gold‘, ‘Happy Days‘, ‘Kissing Cousins‘, ‘Vanguard‘, and with their key influences of The Mars Volta and The Fall Of Troy showing hard, Closure In Moscow got a much warmer response from the audience than you’d initially think. After all, if you’re a fan of Dillinger’s music, you aren’t just some tough-guy hardcore/metal fan; you can appreciate things of a more intricate, finer layered and even delicate nature.

However, while this was a solid opening set, everyone present at the Corner Hotel this night was there for one reason and one reason only: The Dillinger Escape Plan. So after this delicious, shreddy, prog-rock morsel, Closure In Moscow thanked the crowd and departed, with vocalist Christopher de Cinque telling punters to go absolutely apeshit for the headliners. And boy, would that request be made good on!

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With the Corner Hotel’s red curtain drawing all the way back, quick bright flashing lights and loud hi-fi bass wobbles announced the beginning of Dillinger’s end. Shortly after, powerhouse drummer Billy Rymer took the stage to rabid applause, climbing straight over his drum kit as his four bandmates followed him out to a fevered response.

Within mere seconds, frontman Greg Puciato had launched himself right into the crowd as the almighty ‘Prancer‘ began the band’s last ever show on Melbourne soil. With the track’s mathy intro soon done and dusted, standing atop the heads of punters down the front, Puciato rhetorically asked us all “Are you fucking ready?“, right before the band launch into the jagged, crazed fray of this brilliant opening track from 2013’s ‘One Of Us Is The Killer‘, with the crowd matching Pucaito’s scathing screams of “How could it all be/We’ve never been dead/But never awake from this dream“. From there, the mind-bending madness of ‘When I Lost My Bet‘ continued an overall performance that was constantly set at maximum energy levels – from both band and crowd alike.

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Look, we all know that a Dillinger Escape Plan show is a mental time, and this was no exception. After all, one of their final Australian shows or not, why the hell wouldn’t it be?

Within the first three songs of the band’s 16-song set, all manner of wild shit had gone down. Rymer, bassist Liam Wilson, and rhythm guitarist Kevin Antreassian where already wet balls of sweat as they thrashed around on-stage. Puciato and rarely stationary guitarist Ben Weinman had jumped full pelt into and on top of the crowd countless times. At one point, a stray crowd surfer knocked Puciato down from his perch of over-eager shoulders and screaming heads and into to the photo pit behind before the first verse of ‘Prancer‘ was even done. Weinman also stage dived right into our photographer Owen Jones out of nowhere early on and continued playing like nothing had even happened (as you do). And some nutcase even shimmied up that accursed support pole found in the middle of the venue, dangled from the ceiling for a quick minute, before breaking a projector and plummeting down to sweaty masses below. (Security was not at all happy with this particular punter, as they lost their collective shit at him, pulling the dude right out of the crowd and taking him away).

Straight up, this was show just pure fucking chaos. And that was all within first 15 or so minutes of this magnificent set!IMG_4213

From this insane starting point, Dillinger showcased a set that saw them pulling material from every single part of their critically-acclaimed, sweat and blood-soaked career. From ‘Sugar Coated Sour‘ and ‘Weekend Sex Change‘ (‘Calculating Infinity‘), ‘Panasonic Youth‘ (‘Miss Machine‘), ‘Milk Lizard‘ and ‘Black Bubblegum‘ (‘Ire Works‘), ‘Crossburner‘ and ‘One Of Is The Killer‘ (from ‘One Of Us Is The Killer‘) to newer songs like ‘Limerent Death‘, ‘Nothing To Forget‘ and ‘Surrogate‘ (from 2016’s solid ‘Disassociation‘); the band showed off the old, the new, and the in-between. It was essentially a ‘Best Of’ performance – proof as to why Dillinger garnered the revered name they’ve had for so long.

No matter what part of their career they pulled from, the New Jersey legends did so in tight, impeccable musical form. Puciato’s vocal performance – regardless of whether he was softly crooning, singing, yelling, or delivering those intense, animalistic screams – was so spot on right up until the end. Rymer’s drumming never once missed a beat and his playing is just something else to behold; anchoring the noisy, dissonant riffs of Weinman and Antreassian and the stomping, rapid bass work of Wilson. These guys have been experts at their mathy, experimental hardcore craft for years now and there was no wear and tear showing here.

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As you all should know, 2017 marks the 20th year of The Dillinger Escape Plan’s career. And even after these two decades, they’re still on top of their game. Not every band can exist at such a frenzied high-point for that long. Then again, Dillinger are not most bands, are they?

Of course, much like how a band cannot exist at such a high place forever and need to end at some point, an over the top show like this calls for a quick breather. After droning feedback and chants of “DILLINGER” and a few minutes of downtime off-stage following the frenzied pace of ‘Limerent Death‘, the band came back out for their encore; truly the last ever chance to dance for those fans present who weren’t following the group on to Sydney the next night (tonight) or at Brisbane’s Max Watts on Sunday night.

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Now, with the first of these two Melbourne shows going down the night before, that set saw the band end with the short sonic assault of ‘Good Neighbor‘ and the classic Dillinger track, ‘43% Burnt‘. However, tonight the final song honours came down to the vicious cut of ‘The Mullet Burden‘ (taken from the 1998’s ‘Under the Running Board‘ EP) with the full send-off coming in the shape of the intensive ‘Sunshine The Werewolf‘. Some might say that this is would be little anticlimactic, but some people are just painfully wrong. While the former may be a bit of deep cut, the latter – one of the better songs housed within 2002’s ‘Miss Machine‘ – sure as shit isn’t, and those devasting cries of “Destroyer!/There’ll be another/Just like you” were reciprocated right back at the band as they launched themselves around the stage and into a Melbourne crowd for the last time.

Quite simply, this was a show for the history books, and was one of the most insane shows I’ve seen at the Corner. If this is what their final Melbourne show is like, then Jesus H. Christ, I can only imagine what kind of carnage will unfold at Dillinger’s final ever show come later this year.

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As I left the venue and was asked by some random also leaving the show that if I saw someone called Danielson to “ask how the chips were” – with him adding that “it’s important, bro” – I thought about how when Dillinger say that this is their final ever Australian tour, I believe them. I highly doubt they’ll be back touring within two or three years and if there is ever any kind of reunion show, it won’t happen until years down the line. Even then, it wouldn’t  be the same. These guys were and still are a truly defining band for heavy music; both because of their many stellar records over the years and also because of their ridiculous, famed, high-octane live shows. And while there are indeed peers of theirs that come close to their levels of physical energy and musical prowess, I don’t think there’ll be a band quite like them for some time yet.

R.I.P. The Dillinger Escape Plan.

I won’t ever forget you and nor will the hundreds of other adoring fans that were in attendance on this bittersweet yet incredible night.

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PC: Owen Jones (Digital Beard). Find more of his photos from the night below!

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