The Dillinger Escape Plan – Southampton University 27th October 2010

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From the anarchic explosion of ‘Under the Running Board’ to the sophisticated and progressive craft of ‘Ire Works’ and latest release ‘Option Paralysis’ The Dillinger Escape Plan‘s sound has been built on and expanded throughout their career. The music itself speaks volumes and demands the listener’s attention; there is no sitting on the fence. On record, they are a chaotic, schizophrenic and uncontrollable beast. Live, the monster is unleashed.

Starting off the evening is Germany’s The Ocean. Whilst the room slowly fills up and people head to the bar, they play an impressive set of expansive metal that sees many in the crowd bobbing their heads in appreciation. Vocalist Loïc Rossetti commands the stage with a huge presence, and by the time their set draws to a close they have certainly gained some new followers.

Up next is Rolo Tomassi, a band whose sound doesn’t sit still long enough to be defined. Unfortunately the start of their set is dogged by uneven sound levels and doesn’t quite hit the mark, but by the time they play ‘French Motel’ things pick up and the first mosh pit of the night opens up. Treating the crowd with their trademark oddness and a new song which goes down a treat, Rolo Tomassi leaves the stage with the crowd’s admiration.

Tonight of course is all about The Dillinger Escape Plan.

Opening with ‘Farewell, Mona Lisa’, the already sweltering crowd goes appropriately mental. Vocalist Greg Puciato dives into the crowd, feeding and inciting the chaos and leads the mass into an emotional sing along. ‘Milk Lizard’ sees the room bouncing as one and the flawless guitar work of Ben Weinman and Jeff Tuttle on ‘Sugar Coated Sour’ is jaw-dropping. ‘Widower’ slows down the evening with a beautiful vocal and piano ballad before building and building into a powerful and punching climax. The song is a credit to the band’s inspired song writing ability.

‘Good Neighbour’ and ‘Lurch’ throws the room back into the frenzy. The Ocean’s Loïc Rossetti joins the stage for ‘Sunshine the Werewolf’, allowing Greg Puciato to throw himself deep into the crowd to “see how long this cable is” whilst the rest of the band climb the PA and jump off anything on stage. This in itself is a spectacle and made even more impressive as not a single note is lost in the carnage.

Following immediate calls for an encore, Dillinger return with a breath-taking ‘Mouth of Ghosts’ before closing with ‘Panasonic Youth’ closely followed by ‘43% Burnt’, ending what has been a full and excellent example of why they are held to such regard by both fans and critics.

Dillinger has a fierce reputation for their live show and tonight has been no exception. The relatively confined space of the Garden Court was the perfect environment for the insanity to unfold. The humidity and temperature soared as the evening progressed, but to the audience this was of little concern. Everyone’s focus was on the band and the stunning performance they gave. Once Dillinger exits the stage and the final screeching reverb from the PA comes to an end, the mass of fans begin to leave the room battered, bruised and drenched in sweat. There is not a single face without a beaming smile.

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