| Article By Benny Ball on May 1, 2004 |
Formed in 1997, spazzcore crossbreeds the Dillinger Escape Plan have gone from strength to strength in the last seven years. Seamlessly blending extreme metal with elements of carnival-like jazz and in-your-face aggression, the DEP have broken boundaries critics never knew existed.
Dillinger deliver a sound that must be heard to be believed. Each and every member of the band is a virtuoso in their own right. The duelling guitars of Ben Weinman and Brian Benoit are nuclear weapons vying for control of the stage. The drumming of Chris Pennie is quite frankly, ridiculously good. In keeping with the sound they have established, each Dillinger song as a prerequisite MUST contain at least five time signatures. The fact that the band can actually remember what to play is a feat in itself. After working with Mike Patton on 2002’s brilliant ‘Irony Is a Dead Scene’ EP, DEP honed the battleaxe’s edge with the addition of frontman Greg Pucciato. A scarier man I have not met. This is the guy who shat onstage at the Reading festival, and threw it at the crowd. I often hear people say that after hearing DEP, everything else sounds so….tame. All aspects of the music are on an extreme level, a concept that fights with accepted notions of mainstream songwriting. This isn’t music for the faint of heart.
Bringing a more 'emotional' sound to the intimate Greenroom stage were Adelaide youths Love Like…Electrocution. I’m all for supporting Australian bands, and this being an Australian music site, I’d have to feel pretty strongly to give my opinion so candidly. With that said, I can and will certify that Love Like...Electrocution are textbook screamo. That is, they wear their influences on their sleeves. On their full sleeve tattoos rather. On their full sleeve tattoos of broken hearts, framed with prose concerning months of the year, days of the week, names of ex-lovers and other cliches stemming from the all too well known ‘E’ word. It amazes me that seemingly sometime in the mid-70s, a particular breed of child was being propagated, that would one day become the lanky, sickly, foetal shaped stereotype that now fronts many emo bands the world over. The point I’m trying to make is that LLE are lacking an original sound, an original image, and for this night at least, a tight and practised act.
What they do have is a certain stage presence. The band freely admitted that tonight’s set was pretty shoddy. With a spotted history since they formed in 2002, LLE have seen numerous lineup changes, but have now settled on being a 6 piece. Tom and Brett are the two vocalists, this being perhaps the only striking feature of the band. Between holding up the roof of the Greenroom and tearing it up (!), both vocalists put in an admirable effort in attempting to get tonight’s crowd energised. With a sound that display’s obvious influences like Trail of Dead and the Blood Brothers, LLE’s music certainly wasn’t objectionable, but for originality it gets few points. It’s just a shame to see the filtering through of poisonous American culture into our own, especially when it’s this hackneyed and base. ‘Nuff said.
The Dillinger Escape Plan have been labelled as “the most dangerous band in the world”, and tonight’s show attests to this. The sheer brutality of their live set is overwhelming. Thankfully, I didn’t get shit hurled at me, but the way DEP can involve the audience while playing a set that’s tighter than an asshole is jaw dropping. Fortunately I was on the barrier and witnessed Greg Pucciato grab my compadre’s head in his unnaturally large arms and spit lyrics like big sloppy knives in said victims face. (having been blessed with Dillinger spittle, we argued that the aforementioned compadre should refrain from washing his face, but he wasn’t convinced). This, along with some hectic and ultimately self destructive stage dives from Pucciatto kept the audience completely at the bands mercy, which was unsurprisingly, lacking.
Mainly Delivering material from the Irony is Dead EP, and 1999’s superbly crafted Calculating Infinity album, tracks like ‘Hollywood’ and ‘Sugar Coated Sour’ were lapped up by an eager crowd of no more than sixty people. Mostly this small and very ‘Canberra’ crowd worked against the atmosphere, I don’t doubt that the Sydney show was doubly brutal. Still, the band managed to create chaos and animosity where there was none, with a precision that is magnificent to behold. This I admire, and rate the gig highly. It was rather disappointing that the set was shortened to 40 minutes, but ending on the crowd favourite ‘43% burnt' ensured there were few complaints.
With a new full length album due out soon (we were treated to one or two new tracks), the Dillinger Escape Plan will undoubtedly continue their marauding legacy, and with enough luck, bring this show of a lifetime back to our shores.