There aren’t many tours that are revealed that I get giddy with excitement for immediately after they are announced. After hearing The Dillinger Escape Plan were playing Boston, however, it became one of my most highly anticipated shows of the year, and it did not disappoint in the slightest. They are one of those bands who, from the times I have seen them, put on some of the most intense shows I have ever seen.
So, when I reached the sold out Brighton Music Hall and saw the crowd building up when doors opened, I knew Boston was going to be in for a hell of a show. The night started off with the band Shining. No, not the black metal band from Sweden, but the experimental metal act from Norway. Fronted by guitarist, vocalist, and saxophonist Jørgen Munkeby, Shining blends the intricacy of progressive metal with the sound of jazz and black metal in order to craft very interesting pieces of music, which can be heard on their releases Blackjazz and One One One (Indie Recordings). Opening with the track ‘I Won’t Forget’, it was obvious that some of the crowd did not know what to expect after they began to play. The band played with a lot of energy and had a very strong stage presence throughout their set. By the end, most of the crowd was into their performance, even some of the people who were talking about why they were on the bill. They ended their set with a cover of ’21st Century Schizoid Man’ by King Crimson, and having the whole crowd sing along was a perfect way to close their set.
Following Shining were glitchy hardcore noisemakers Retox, whose mathy approach must have been a tad too offbeat for a crowd awaiting Trash Talk. With a more straightforward and urban approach to hardcore, it lends itself more to the mosh, essentially. Busting out oldies like a souped-up version of ‘F.Y.R.A.’ and the title track from their fastcore favourite, ‘Walking Disease’ and evenly dotting in some of their darker, heavier material from Eyes & Nines and 119 paved the way for stage-dive and crowd surf central. With vocalist Lee Spielman keeping the crowd hype in order to give them their money’s worth in next day bruises, there was no shortage of circle pits, rafter hanging (guitarist Spencer included), and of course, good old fashioned mosh ignorance. Those near the stage during the seasonably doom-laden ‘Hash Wednesday” would also be able to smell a certain sweet leaf making the rounds. Surprisingly, no hospitalizations, but definitely a lot of damaged shoes.
To pile mayhem on mayhem came The Dillinger Escape Plan, who, unlike Retox, have the history and long-standing reputation for hosting shows where the trend generally is rafter hanging, pit violence, more rafter hanging, impassioned singalongs, and maybe more rafter hanging, but this time instigated by guitarist extraordinaire Ben Weinman. Of course, you can guess that this set followed the formula of a normal Dillinger set, but is that ever a bad thing?
Aside from vocalist Greg Puciato telling all couples to make sweet love for the sake of procreation during the swank, ear-friendly intro to the title track of their Sumerian Records debut, One Of Us Is The Killer, you can guess what happened, short of the venue walls collapsing under the weight of ‘43% Burnt’, or the glorious pile-on/stage invasion during ‘Sunshine The Werewolf’, a fitting closer. Whoever programs their light show should get an academy award for the headache inducing task of syncing up anti-epilepsy death rays with the mind-bending time signatures that they bust out as easily as a grade schooler can beat-box. When even ‘Panasonic Youth’ is a comparatively ‘easy’ song to tap your foot to, you know you’re in for the musical equivalent of a plane crash. In the best way, of course. Be sure to pick up the wreckage that was your brain on the way out of the venue.
Despite all odds, the Brighton Music Hall still stands, and so we may tell the tale of the night it survived Trash Talk And The Dillinger Escape Plan back to back. Honestly, I’m still puzzled, but some things are best not to think too hard about and just accept. Life is kind of like stage-diving, if you think about it that way.
Review by Jason Mejia and Sean Pierre-Antoine