The Dillinger Escape Plan‘s reputation precedes the band. The mathcore quintet is (in)famous for their chaotic live sets, which are known for hosting waves of crowd-surfing and leaving members of the crowd and/or band with a broken bone or two. Such a legendary live performance might explain why the crowd Friday at Reggie’s Rock Club in Chicago was teeming with a sense of frantic energy before the group took the stage.
Yet, the energetic propulsion of chaos hardly gives the band enough credit, nor does it really help explain the rabid fandom DEP has garnered. Any group worth their weight in fast guitar trashing can set a crowd into a mess of moshing. It’s being able to morph a sound on the verge of chaos that’s truly impressive, and Dillinger Escape Plan has shown their ability to do just that on record and in a live setting.
Dillinger took command of the stage Friday and refused to relent for a full hour, blasting their way through songs garnered from their growing discography. DEP mixed four songs from their newest album, Option Paralysis, into a set of fan favorite songs and technically-difficult tunes.
It was a sight to behold. Between the kind of stage antics that would send most folks home in stitches, somehow guitarists Ben Weinman and Jeff Tuttle managed to string together an impressive amount of finger picking that would make the most worked-over finger calluses burst at the seams. All the while, drummer Billy Rymer sped through hyper-fast jazz-styled change-ups with ease and bassist Liam Wilson injected a bit of funky pazzaz into crowd-pleasers like “Black Bubblegum.” Greg Puciato pulled the package together, screaming like a maniac and hitting the highest notes at all the right points, all while comfortably guiding the band through ballads (“Mouth of Ghosts”) and melody-mashing songs (“Farewell, Mona Lisa.”)
Weinman took to Reggie’s rafters like a set of monkeybars at the end of Dillinger’s set. Though his leap to the crowd evokes his band’s death-defying challenge to put on a visceral and electrifying live set, even that act could not compare to the experience of seeing a Dillinger Escape Plan concert.