Dillinger Escape Plan + Knuckle Dragger @ Spring & Airbrake 04/08/11
(review & images copyright Spikey Steve)
Formerly known as punk band 'Arcane' in a previous life; 'The Dillinger Escape Plan' were back in town yesterday for the first time in 4 years , so a couple of other hardcore fans and I took this golden opportunity and spent part of the afternoon pre-soundcheck hanging out with the some of the guys , getting various items of memorabillia signed and generaly chatting about random crap . Hell! they even autographed my first little guitar which was only rediscovered in our attic last week after years of gathering dust in the dark and now its one of my most treasured possesions all-over again and a really cool piece of mathcore memorabillia. Ben Weinmann even managed to knock out a few punk rock riffs on it , which gave the other band members and the few fans there a laugh. DEP are really cool down to earth guys, so nice infact my parents and my pet staffy actually met Greg Puciato the lead singer across the way from the venue after dropping me off . He had a long chat with them and took the time to write me a really positive message which was greatly appreciated by us all.
Now back to the real business of the evening ,because when it came to showtime they took no prisoners and tore Belfast a new asshole. Talk about intense you don't know the meaning of the word until you've been caught in mosh with a bunch of rabid DEP fans at feeding time.
Local boys " (We are )Knuckle Dragger " opened the show , they played it hard and fast in a metallic /punk style even though their drummer was doing a one armed "Rick Allen" impersonation as he was still in recovery after recieving major surgery just 2 weeks previous on his left arm . He thrashed away through the show and kept it solid regardless of his temporary inconvienience . They had some really good hardcore songs in their set like "Tom Ryder" & "-20% for being a loser". Met the band afterwards and they were sound guys - I'll be checking them out again . The crowd gave " (We are) Knuckle Dragger " a polite reception and even they were a tough audience to please they seemed to like them , but lets not fool ourselves here everyone in the sold out S&A was only here for one thing " a longawaited face to face visual & aural battering by The Dillinger Escape Plan".
The kings of complex american mathcore kicked off the set with " Farewell Mona Lisa" then it was sheer pandemonium from that moment on ,with the band spending as much time in the audience as they did on the stage , you haven't lived until you've had " Greg Puciato " scream the lyrics straight into your face then push you away or have Ben Weinmann or Jeff Tuttle the guitarists standing right next to you playing as their instruments are screaming and spitting out deadly venom through a PA so loud it was painful. Unbelievabley DEP cranked it up a few more notches for "Sunshine werewolf" and lets not forget the fit inducing strobes used to startling effect throughout the gig. The front of stage pit was a rough & tough place to be but I never left the scene of the crime for the for the whole 15 songs , I didn't want to miss a thing even with the non-stop pushing and shoving and a continuous stream of crowd surfers landing on top of my head .This show was balancing on the razors edge of violence and so exciting you could feel the blood speeding around your body , you could'nt control your reactions you just had to get in there and be part of the madness no matter what the risk to yourself was. The show ended on a real high with 43% burnt ,the audience reaction was frightening as the energy levels were still rising and going through the roof. The band decided to give us one last number and we could pick it ourselves . The audience choice was " The Mullet Burden" and we kept the pit going until there was nothing left to give ,the band and fans were running on pure adrenaline and once the last chords were struck DEP made an instant exit from the stage. Mission accomplished.
It was the end of the show ,the "Spring & Airbrake was like an overheating sauna . The air was so thin you couldn't catch a breath and there was codensation dripping in big blobs from the ceiling . What a night , this is what its all about .
I saw the return of Belfast punk leg-ends "the Outcasts" last weekend at the Empire and it was like an oap's tea party comparred to this show. I wasn't there in 1978 I'm far too young, its all good stuff but this is what really kicks a teenagers ass in 2011.
Its now the morning after the night before and I'm aching all-over, I still can't hear properly and I'm speaking like a frog , but it was such a good night with such a brilliant band I wouldn't have missed it for the world , lets hope its not another four years until their next visit to these shores , I can't wait to do it all again .
$pikey $teve Donnelly .Belfast .5.8.11.