The Dillinger Escape Plan – The Hi-Fi, Melbourne 27/02/14

Since Monday, Melbourne had been playing host to a raft of cutting edge, boundary-pushing bands, all here for the annual Soundwave Festival. A band that fits securely in this aforementioned contingent of boundary-pushers was tonight’s headline act, The Dillinger Escape Plan.

A screeching barrage of distortion had been building tension and the time finally arrived for New Jersey’s genre-defying natives to rush the stage. It’s here I want readers to picture something in their minds. Remember the days of after-school Warner Brothers cartoons? Good. Keep going. What about those crazy buggers Wile E Coyote and Road Runner? Remember the million-miles-an-hour at which they used to move? Great.

Now picture five guys on a small stage, bearing guitars, bass, and a drum kit, moving at the same velocity. The first notes to Prancer had barely been struck before vocalist Greg Puciato was screaming into the face of the fifth row. One could vaguely make out Ben Weinman and his guitar as the blur of his fast-forward movements were simply mind-blowing. The action didn’t slow one iota throughout the show, only ceasing after the band had trashed the tireless Billy Rymer’s drum kit as they left the stage.

Gallery: Soundwave 2014 – RNA Showgrounds, Brisbane 22/02/2014

Photos by Rebecca Reid

Milk Lizard, from their 2007 album Ire Works, went off like a prawn sandwich, sending the heaving crowd into a fight to the death. The breakneck speed at which the band was moving and their ability to maintain focus and momentum was quite simply astounding. It was easy to feel lost inside of each song, but the band possessed an uncanny ability to anticipate the next change in direction.

Such chaos could only be reigned in by a select few, most of whom were on stage at that very moment. The sight of a punter wearing an Adelaide Crows football jersey (in Melbourne…during a concert) was a curious sight, but amidst the bedlam on stage, it seemed almost appropriate that social conventions be pushed to the wayside.

Their latest album, One Of Us Is The Killer, received a healthy airing in the night’s performance, the title track a particular standout. Security had their hands full throughout the evening, as punters and Puciato consistently breached the perimeter of the barricade.

The band’s encore performance of the Aphex Twin classic Come To Daddy, off their Irony Is A Dead Scene EP, was Patton-less, but maintained the intimidating effect of the original, with the additional textures one would expect from a Dillinger interpretation. 43% Burnt was an appropriate closer, having not lost its abrasiveness since first being performed.

For the hour the band were on stage, it felt like a lifetime of musicality had been employed before the crowd. It was only when the cool air blowing down Swanston Street hit us, as we poured out of the Hi-Fi, that we realised how much heat had been generated by band and audience alike. It’s just a question of who was Wile E Coyote and who was the Road Runner?

Watch: Soundwave 2014 Interviews – The Dillinger Escape Plan

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