The evening was warm and the line snaked along the sidewalk, a creature of black skinny jeans and black band shirts. Inside, the Ace of Spades literally vibrated with sound as local band Journal, the first act of the evening, played their set. It was an enthusiastic bout of video game inspired metal that got a group of rather inventive teenagers to mosh in a corner. Their little pit excitedly meshed what looked like ballroom and interpretive dance into the traditional violent jig of the mosh. Then came Royal Thunder, a group from Atlanta with their red-coated female singer whose evocative voice and utter lack of screaming distinguished itself from the rest of the line up. The crowd grew denser as Angeleno band The Faceless set up their show. They lit up the stage with a strobe light and their brand of technical death metal, laying down their tracks with talent and the screaming intensity of their bearded singer.
Finally, it was time for the main act. The lights were out, the crowd shoved up against the stage, calling their name; the pit was expanded and cleared in anticipation. And then, The Dillinger Escape Plan took the stage. By force. The crowd roiled with explosive energy as Dillinger grabbed us up in a rollercoaster of sound. If you’ve never heard of the Dillinger Escape Plan [named for the mobster John Dillinger], here’s the scoop: they’re a mathcore [meaning complex rhythms and deliberate dissonance] band hailing from Morris Plains, NJ who’ve been around since 1997. They are notorious for crazy shows, a reputation that only increased when, in 2002, their singer shat in a bag and threw it in the audience before smearing himself with what was left. Apparently it was a statement about the rest of the bands that were playing at the Reading Festival that year.
Fortunately, that didn’t happen at this show instead they stuck to playing songs off their brand new album, One of Us Is the Killer. We were however, treated to the terrifyingly death courting antics of the lead guitarist, Ben Weinman [who, surprisingly is the only original member left] made for an exciting show as his guitar pin wheeled around his body, then he jumped up on the rig, danced on it [as a roadie clung to the back to keep it form rolling], contemplated the air conditioning unit, then left it to join the singer in a running leap instrument first into the audience. Not to be outdone, the singer, Greg Puciato, who looked rather like a beefed up version of Macklemore, tossed the mic to the audience, got it back, spat straight upwards, and proceeded to attempt to eat the damn thing. It was a good night.
Photos Courtesy of Ryan Stewart