Review: The Dillinger Escape Plan at the Upstate Concert Hall


Hearing is disoriented, but the soul is warm with vigor. Crazy hardcore kids are jumping on your back and leaping at you from the stage. Sweat and water sprays in all directions.

Chaos is happening all around me, but I can’t take my eyes off Dillinger Escape Plan.

Uniqueness is rare in music these days, but Dillinger has been slaughtering concert halls for 16 years with its signature spazz math metal hardcore assault. The band stands alone in its own fucked up category.

Dillinger Escape Plan has only been accessible to the people who love blistering noise and math-like, ass-backwards rhythms. It’s complicated music, and as loud as seven fighter jets taking off. Dillinger’s music is inaccessible to a mass population, but has become admired by those who respect musicianship, skill, and raw energy.

Out of the four existing Dillinger albums — Calculating Infinity (1999), Miss Machine (2004), Ire Works (2007), and Option Paralysis (2010) — I cannot put a bad name on any one. Luckily, the band played songs from all four records at Upstate Concert Hall on Tuesday evening, plus a few tracks from the new full-length One of Us is the Killer, due out on May 14.

You would think that Dillinger would be exhausted after 70 minutes at warp speed, stomping and spinning around the stage, but it looked like the band could have gone longer. After the set finished (no encore), a collective “what-the-fuck face could be seen on many patrons inside the club.

Astonishing, exhausting, and totally awesome. How can music be played with such force and speed in a live setting?

It was my fifth time seeing Dillinger Escape Plan. My jaw still dropped, and is currently unhinged.

Opening for DEP was Royal Thunder, from Atlanta, and of total different flavor. These two bands couldn’t have less in common, but Royal Thunder was a great appetizer for Dillinger.

The guitarist, drummer, and female bassist/vocalist all stood in a row and proceeded to bang out what sounded like southern harmony mixed with heavy metal. Royal Thunder spurred up some walls of noise, but the set was clean. As the musicians locked in tighter, I became more and more mesmerized by the music.

I had listened to CVI a few months ago, but couldn’t get through the entire record. This band is more approachable in a live setting, and I saw many people with Royal Thunder records under their arms after the show. All in all, this band rocks, and hopefully they’ll make a better studio album in the future that better represents their live sound.

However, Dillinger Escape Plan stole the bill, again. I’m not sure what it is exactly, but something draws me to this band. The music is vicious, but enjoyable. When Dillinger slows it down, the anxiety starts to swell because it won’t be long until they kick you in the gut.

All that I could do is stand there and stare, like watching a car accident. After the show, I shook my head in disbelief. I couldn’t hear a damn thing.

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