I've seen a number of great shows at the Ridglea Theater. The best show I've ever seen was there (Fugazi in 2002), and I had not seen a show that powerful, chaotic and inspiring since. Well, that changed last Friday night.
With all due respect to Shaolin Death Squad, Dear Life, and the Bled, I was there to see the mighty Dillinger Escape Plan. And I got my money's worth, to say the least.
From the live clips I'd seen on YouTube and the Miss Machine DVD, I didn't see a radically different set-up. But that's OK. What I saw was pure fun and insanity during their 60-minute set. Playing a nice mix of their three records (especially Miss Machine and Ire Works), the band's schizoid progressive hardcore did not get old. To me, at least.
Lit mostly by backlights and a light in Gil's bass drum, the guys ripped through the songs at speeds clocking faster than the speeds on the records. Couple that with Ben and Jeff throwing their guitars around, along with getting on top of the PA speakers, this was a sight to be seen.
Watching Gil play was inspiring even though I will probably never learn to play a Dillinger song properly on the drums. The amount of control that guy has behind his kit -- making the complicated seem easy while making the simple seem so pulverizing -- motivates me to just play rather than overanalyze. Getting to walk up and talk to him after the set reminded me of what I've always liked about the no-frills nature of hardcore.
Probably the best part of the set was the end. No, not because it was over. Rather, during the extended breakdown in "Sunshine the Werewolf," Greg went into the crowd with Jeff's mike stand and mike and hoped to have the crowd sing with him. Instead, the vocal mikes were turned off. So, during the final section, Greg led the crowd in singing the part, just like that part in Another State of Mind when Ian MacKaye leads the crowd in singing after the PA was shut off. Seeing this in person made all the difference for me.
What more could I say? I enjoyed the hell out of myself. And I didn't mind the apparent endless drive to Fort Worth.