It’s always sad to hear when a great band decides to call it quits. We rely on our favourite artists to provide the soundtrack to our daily lives, so when the ones who seem to understand us the most hang up their hats, a part us goes with them. When I read that The Dillinger Escape Plan’s most recent album Dissociation and the accompanying tour would be their last one, I knew I had to make it out to see them one more time.
Neither of the two opening acts spent very much time playing, though both sets were heavy as all hell and served as great warmups. By the time I made it into Fouf’s show room after waiting in line for the coat check and then waiting in line to get upstairs, it was already pretty full, and Kennedy were already almost done. While the rest of the band stood on the stage to deliver their grimy hardcore tunes, their frontman Matthew Savage opted to remain in the pit for what I understood to be the majority of their set. Though most people were hesitant to go near him, he managed to rope a few attendees into dancing and moshing around with him.
After this, Hashed Out finished setting up their gear fast. Just as it looked like they were ready to start, they announced that they needed a bathroom break. Typical. When they did start playing, all eyes were on screamer Alex Cartier. His stage presence is that of a man writhing in pain and it is mesmerizing. Their songs are short but visceral. As if taking a cue from the previous act, Cartier also decided to perform the last two songs of his set in the middle of the now significantly more violent pit. A brave man indeed. As their closing song “To the Wolves” bled out and the band members all turned to face the back wall of the stage, Cartier thanked the crowd for everything and it was over. Here’s a super French video of them playing that song.
Both of those sets together lasted for a combined total of about 39 and a half seconds. Ok no, not really. But they were really short. So it was that at 9:45pm on the dot, the lights went out and the distant sound of feedback began to ring out through the room. Then, as the stage lights came on, one by one the members of The Dillinger Escape Plan walked calmly onto the stage and picked up their instruments. The room was now jam-packed as nearly everyone prepared to rush the stage or get out of the way of the inevitable and quickly approaching chaos. “It’s Sunday night,” sneered Greg Puciato. “Let’s get loose.” Then “Limerent Death” hit the crowd, and the crowd hit back in full force. Beer and shoes went flying. Crowd surfers were being lifted up left and right, and anyone and everyone was jumping onto and diving off of the stage. At one point, guitarist and band mastermind Ben Weinman walked across the crowd’s outstretched hands while playing. They sounded awesome, though about half way through the set, Puciato’s wireless mic gave out and he had to opt for a chorded option, and towards the end something went wrong with Weinman’s guitar, for the majority of the show they sounded impeccably clear.
For the better part of two hours, The Dillinger Escape Plan showcased just how much they’ve accomplished in their more than fifteen-year career. From the frenetic hardcore of “Panasonic Youth” to the dripping jazz in “When I Lost My Bet,” the evil pop of “Black Bubblegum,” the twisted power ballad that is “One of Us is the Killer,” the uplifting prog of “Nothing to Forget,” the piano-driven world music of “Mouth of Ghosts,” and all the way back to the crashing math metal in closers “Sunshine the Werewolf” and “43% Burnt,” they not only gave us a selection of the very best they have to offer, but a reminder of how huge a hole their absence will leave in the tapestry of the hardcore scene.
As the closing song dissolved into nothingness and drummer Billy Rymer continued to bash away at his drum kit like a man possessed, the rest of the band starting throwing and breaking pretty much every piece of equipment on the stage that was theirs. And why not, right? This was, after all, the last night of the 2016 leg of what will inevitably be their last tour, so why not get a little silly and go out with as big a bang as possible? Crazy is what these guys do best, and they do it better than anyone else. From the bottom of my heart guys, here’s to an awesome career and a hell of a way to end it.
Written by Syd Ghan
Photography by Eric Brisson Eric Brisson Photography
*edited by Kate Erickson