Saturday, 6 November 2010

The Greatest Escape

The Dillinger Escape Plan *****
Rolo Tomassi *****
The Ocean (Missed them. Oops!)
The Electric Ballroom, Camden 5th November 2010

Not getting used to this early start gig thing. Completely missed The Ocean (sorry guys) - they must've been doing a matinée. 

Anyway, onwards and upwards. Rolo Tomassi. Wow! A tiny (and very hot - even though I'm not allowed to say that as she's way too young!) Eva Spence belts out huuuge noise. A bit like a cute little sports car but with the engine of a Eurofighter - then chucked through Ted Nugent's world record beating 65K rig from many years ago. Surprising. Frightening. Bewildering. But, well, kind of good.

Rolo Tomassi defy categorisation. And I'm not going to try. There's no shortage of tunes, technical and musical ability, but loads of big sounds. Very big sounds. Thery're energetic, bouncy, fun but scary as fuck. And by the end of their massively well-received set, a packed crowd were certainly enraptured and appreciative. 
The Ballroom was pretty much rammed to the rafters and the air of anticipation was almost tangible as the last vapours of Eva and the boys drifted off into the ether.

Talking of the crowd; what a bizarre collection. Yes a few trad metal heads, camo shorts 'n' all, many grizzly beards and checked shirts, loads of caps like the bloke from the X-Factor, a smattering of IT guys, scene kids, inquisitive Shoreditch types, loads of muso 'biz' looking coolites, more girls than you could have predicted, certainly a herd of out-of towners (pointed out by my mate Matt!) and a few hold hacks like me. Whatever and whoever, everyone was certainly up for it.

Then it happened. Jeez! A brutal but mesmerising, spine-tingling and testicle-wrenching launch into Goodbye Mona Lisa from the spellbinding Option Paralysis. There are few, in fact, fuck it, NO bands on this earth who come close to DEP. The breath was kicked and beaten out of every onlooker. Ben Weinman threw his plank around like I've never seen before. Billy Rymer's drumming was like having the All Blacks' Pack speed tapdancing on your cranium. Greg's voice like a hot fire poker up the jacksie all tied together with Jeff Tuttle's frenetic and ridiculously contolled but eplileptic guitar work and Liam Wilson's liver-splitting bass. Truly awesome. An over-used word, but truly needed here. 

The 'tunes' kept coming, new, old, really old. All amazing, astonishing, astounding and uncompromisingly aggressive. Even the mellow bits and jazzy piano excursions from a stripped to the waist Weinman, had a brooding malevolence and you knew it was just a bit of foreplay befor the full-on violation continued.

The crowd looked like a writhing scene from Hieronymus Bosch or Danté. All hell was opening up and legs, arms, arses, sweat, blood, shit, beer and piss filled this most sulphurous, noxious dark stygian cavern. And it was amazing. Stage diving? Nah! For pussies, These guys run into the crowd. Jump upright. Swing on dirty bastard gangland wharehouse torturer's lamps.

They crack on through 'singalongs' like Black Bubblegum, the ever infectious Milk Lizard, and the higlight of the show for me - Gold Teeth on a Bum. They pepper the set with classics; Fix your face, Panasonic Youth, the genius of Sugar Coated Sour, the frightening and seldom heard Mullet Burden all coming to a vinegar stroke crescendo with the classic 43% Burnt. This is surgonlike precision in eviscerating the crowd. Perfectly constructed and designed for maximum collateral damage and precision targetting. They rule. Totally.

I truly can't articulate the reasons for my love for this lot. They're nihilistic, inaccessible, loud, ugly, annoying, disgusting, brutal and undoubtedly brilliant musicians (not many circle pits open up to a song in 13/8 with massive accidentals and compound time breakdowns). But I do love them. Irrationally,perhaps worryingly.

The whole evening is back lit by a state-of the art but industrial rig which lends to the overall marauding and uncomfortable menace of this Hadean tableau. And it works brilliantly. But the weirdest thing is that I smiled throughout it all. Massive circle pits and havoc notwithstanding. In fact my face, as well as my arse, chest and head hurt more than anything. Because of the smiling.

I've seen this lot 5 times now. This was by far their best show so far. Saying that, the other four were bloody brilliant too (especially the remarkable concert in a coffin session at The Barfly earlier this year). You know those middle class lists and books of things to do before you die - bungee jumping, swimming with dolphins, climbing Everest, sleeping with Angelina Jolie. Sod all that. See this lot live. They will change your life.

Astonishing. Fucking astonishing.

Deftones up next.

More tunes soon. Bwoooar!

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