The Dillinger Escape Plan

support Poison The Well + Stolen Babies
author TL date 06/03/08 venue Pumpehuset, Copenhagen, DEN

Okay so the site is finally working again and that means I have to kick right back into action with the review of The Dillinger Escape Plan-show I caught last week in Copenhagen. The mathcore pioneers were set to play Pumpehuset along with Poison The Well and Stolen Babies, and from the chatter around the downstairs cafe, it seemed that there were passionate crowds present both for Dillinger and Poison The Well. Having heard AP go on and on about just how great Dillinger was in Mean Fiddler and watching the countless links of the craziness he had sent my way, I must admit to being somewhat excited about seeing how the band was going to assault Pumpehuset.

Stolen Babies

First however, there is the matter of Stolen Babies, and from their performance I am willing to back AP's claim about them being one of the strangest bands ever. Once again everyone's corpse painted, the guitarist and bassist are wearing dresses and the short lead singer basically looks like a twisted nightmarish Minnie Mouse, wielding a harmonica and a ghoulish growl. It's intriguing for a short while, but as everything apart from the gothic Disney-girl comes out of the speakers as a rumbling blur, it's really hard to think of Stolen Babies as anything but one huge gimmick. They may very well be more, but with these soundlevels, they can only hope that their appearance makes people check out their recordings, because their set is, at least tonight, only interesting from a visual point of view.

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Poison The Well

Now it's time for Poison The Well. Before tonight's show I talked to Ryan outside in the band's van, and amongst other things he told me that the band is currently considering adding their hired touring rhythm guitarist and bassist to the band full time. From where I'm standing that seems like a flat out brilliant idea, because let me tell you, I rarely see someone love being on stage the way rhythm guitarist Bradley Clifford seems to be. Between him and the other band members we get to witness a ripping exhibition in what hardcore's all about. Forget about any post-prefix you might feel like slapping on the band's later releases because the way they perform is no-nonsense and oldschool. The floor is filled with guys moshing the way they've probably seen 'real hardcore fans' do on Youtube, in effect flailing arms and legs around like they were Jean Claude Van Damme in a final showdown. Ah well, each to their own, at least there's room to stand back in Pumpehuset, and I get myself a good view of the band's trek through their catalogue. They do so in a manner worthy of any oldschool hardcore outfit and that in itself is commendable, however there's really nothing extra added to really spice things up, and as Jeffrey's clean vocals are completely drowned under the instruments, the music loses the contrast it would need to lift the show on its own.

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The Dillinger Escape Plan

To be perfectly honest I had really hyped myself up for Dillinger, and if we are to get the bad stuff out of the way to begin with I have to admit to being a tiny bit disappointed that the madness tonight never rivals what was described in the review of their London appearance. That being said, the guys still step up and rip the place apart. From second one, they're up on the speakers, flailing guitars around like madmen in the thick smoke that have been pumped om stage and Greg is roaring with all the insanity and energy we know from the records. In front of the stage there's a thick crowd of guys getting busy with pounding their bodies into each other, going nuts in an all out attempt at matching the band. They fail miserably. I don't know how to accurately describe the way Dillinger performs. There's not a second during the show where a band member is not either flailing his instrument in wild circles, climbing something, jumping through the air and/or all of the above. I think the fact, that Jill (soon to be official RF photographer) was too scared for her camera to attempt getting to other side of the floor, speaks it's own clear language. Every once in a while Greg sticks the microphone into the crowd and there's a surge of people almost jumping on top of each other to get to scream along to the lyrics. As a whole, it is however quite hard to effectively and dramatically describe a Dillinger Escape Plan show, as it is simply one constant chaotic mess of brutal technicality and reality-defying movement, not slowing down or letting off, only stepping up when the guitarists step out of the smoke and mount the side-wall rafters to rock out to the last song of the set. So basically, summing things up, there's only one thing to say, and that is that even on what seems like an off-day, The Dillinger Escape Plan still kills, tramples and devours every other band I ever saw. Do not - and I repeat - Do NOT miss an opportunity to experience them!

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