State first witnessed The Dillinger Escape Plan nine years ago without having heard any of their music before. The decision to see them was solely on the knowledge that they had recorded an EP with Mike Patton … and that their singer had recently shit on a towel and tossed it into a crowd at the Reading Festival.
To say their sound came as a shock is a massive understatement. They pulverised their instruments, playing them at breakneck speeds with more time signatures in one song than most bands attempt in a career.
A long time has passed though, Dillinger have lost members to Coheed & Cambria, careers in graphic design and nerve damage – and State has long since passed the Leaving Cert. Dillinger also have a much larger catalogue of material to choose from with three albums released since then – Miss Machine, Ire Works and last year’s Option Paralysis.
It’s Option Paralysis that gets the lion’s share of the attention in an impressively balanced set. Opener ‘Farewell Mona Lisa’ gives a fair indication of how tonight is going to pan out; it’s going to be fast, heavy and relentless. No sooner has the first bar rang out and singer Greg Puciato is crawling through the crowd and still managing to unleash a blood curdling scream. In terms of onstage energy, you’re unlikely to see a livelier band (our own Adebisi Shank come a close second). Guitarists Ben Weimann and Jeff Tuttle spend the whole show launching themselves off anything they can find, while Puciato treats The Academy as his own personal jungle gym.
Dillinger’s sound has evolved ever so slightly over the years, while the frenetic pace of their early years is still there, the band has veered into more melodic sounds both musically and vocally. It’s these new songs like ‘Black Bubblegum’ and ‘Milk Lizard’ that probably garner they best reactions and sing alongs of the night.
Never ones to alienate, the second half of the set is purely for the old school fans, Calculating Inifinity’s ‘Sugar Coated Sour’ and Patton penned ‘When Good Dogs Do Bad Things’ never sounding better. Encore ‘The Mullet Burden’ from 1998 released Under The Running Board is a perfect closer to the set.
With the genetic makeup of Dillinger is forever shape shifting, a new material set could have easily been expected and accepted. What we got tonight was far from that. This is a group that is still producing crushing and technically stunning music while paying tribute to those who came before them.
Picture by Cory Danks, courtesy of AU Magazine.