I’ve routinely joked that going to see The Dillinger Escape Plan live would be the death of me. It didn’t seem all that far fetched to be honest with you. The raucousness and energy of their live shows has become the stuff of legend, involving everything from spitting fire to the now infamous poop in a bag incident. Once the band announced that would do one last, extensive tour before calling it a day it was an absolute no-brainer. I had to go. I had to tempt death (and feces) one final time.
As I’m sure I have mentioned numerous times, I am eternally an old person, so when I saw there were four openers for Dillinger I opted to stay in and watch Critters for the first 2 bands. I had been feeling rather crummy earlier in the day and needed to save all the energy I could muster. Sorry Entheos and American Shit Storm, it’s nothing personal. My buddy and I tried to time our departure with the one opener I DID care about: Cult Leader. The crusty/grind quartet really surprised me with last year’s Lightless Walk, so I was eager to see if they translate that kind of powerhouse sound to a live setting.
Naturally we missed them because we severely underestimated how difficult parking is to find in downtown Dallas on a Saturday night. I can only assume that it was the God of Opening Bands smiting me for my indiscretions against Entheos and American Shit Storm. Slightly disheartened we made our way into the venue. I had never seen the place so packed in all my years of attendance. At one point in the evening I witnessed at least 20 men jammed into the minuscule three urinal bathroom. I couldn’t tell you what was happening in there, but I can only assume there was urine covering every inch.
Shortly after we had found a good vantage point the last remaining opener, heavy rockers O’brother, took to the stage. Sandwiched between Cult Leader and Dillinger their more mellow take on heaviness felt like an odd fit, though eclectic bills are nothing new for DEP (see their tour with Royal Thunder and Faceless). Though the band’s sound might have been at odds with the more metallic chaos of the rest of the evening, they still delivered a powerful yet somber set that seemed to end just as they were really starting to groove.
Of course once DEP took the stage nothing that happened before mattered. This isn’t a slight to the other bands, or anything that happened before in the history of history, it’s just that DEP have completely mastered the art of the live experience and they’re showing it off on their final go ’round. The band opened with the elephantine stomp of “Limerent Death,” Greg Puciato sounding every bit as unhinged as he does on the recorded track. The band wasted no time launching into the aural sandstorm of “Panasonic Youth” before bringing things down a few notches with the absolutely anthemic new track “Symptom of Terminal Illness.” The set list seemed like it was constructed to show the bands history and diversity. It ranged from their short bursts of mathcore madness to their more straight up pop moments like “Black Bubblegum,” the only disappointment being how underrepresented Option Paralysis was.
After playing crowd favorites like “Milk Lizard” and a surprising everyone with “Mouth of Ghosts,” a song they hadn’t played in 6 or so years, it was time to close out the show. As soon as the band started “Sunshine the Werewolf” Puciato encouraged everyone to get up on stage and join the band. It was a mad rush as everyone clamored to get there. People leapt from the stage in waves while others played alongside Ben Weinman or screamed into the microphone with Puciato. The band continued into “43% Burnt” seemingly unphased by anything happening around them. People jumped from balconies into the frenzied crowd below, people hoisted others up, dozens remained on stage or came flying off of it like human rockets. It was hard to focus on everything that was happening around me. I’d look around and get brief glimpses of Ben Weinman crowdsurfing on top of those gathered on stage or a water bottle being thrown before the person came hurtling towards me…and as quickly as it began it ended. As the lights came up and people calmly exited the stage I found myself a strange mix of elated and depressed. It was a true whirlwind of a show, one I’d love to relive again and again, but it was sinking in that this was probably going to be the last time I ever got to be a part of it.
Remember at the start of this when I said I had been feeling kind of crummy? Well I wound up way overexerting myself at the concert and ending up with a combination of a sinus infection and strep. Its taken me a while to get this recap to you guys because I’ve spent several days off of work and in bed just trying (unsuccessfully) to sleep. You know what though? I would gladly go through all of this illness again for a DEP show. Easily and without question. If you’ve even had a mild interest in them, go see them while you still can just to soak it in. It will be well worth whatever the cost, possibly even death.
You can give The Dillinger Escape Plan a like on facebook here and also check out their remaining tour dates and professional concert photos from someone who isn’t terrified of dropping and shattering their expensive ass phone in a mosh pit.