Live Review – The Dillinger Escape Plan + Maylene and the Sons of Disaster at The Hi Fi, Brisbane 25 May 2010

Review: Hannah Collins

Following on from the destruction that took place at Sydney’s Metro Theatre on Friday 21st, Sunday 23rd of May saw the malicious line up on the The Dillinger Escape Plan tour park their vans and load their gear into the rear of Brisbane’s Hi Fi.
With both headliner, and second support bands touring off the back of their latest releases, they’ve come; ready blow the house away with an arrangement of toxically destructive yet undeniably distinct songs. Maylene don’t’ look like your typical metal band, because they’re not. Neither are Dillinger. Both acts are well known for their pioneering ability to create and mould new genres of sounds, encompassing an array of metal, jazz, blues, rockabilly, punk and screamo. The collection of sounds we’re about to hear are unique only to the bands who’ve created them. Maylene are drilling to the core of traditional rock and metal and intently injecting an air of southern flair, quite familiar to their place of foundation; Burmingham, Alabama. While Dillinger, a much earlier conception, incorporate their own blend of metal (progressive, thrash, hardcore, punk) and jazz fusions to have become, the pioneers of what critics and fans alike now know as “math metal”. With such a partricular combination of artists, the show will surely be, as mind boggling and utterly intriguing as the bands themselves.

As usual at this particular venue, I’m disappointed by the cleanliness and lack of atmosphere emitted from the building itself. In comparison to the disarray and charisma of the patrons in attendance, once the music takes flight the stagnancy slows the rise of emotion. By the time Maylene being setup, we’re all getting there, and right now no one really gives a shit where we are, it’s just a privilege to be here. Feet shuffle backward and forward as the house compacts.

It appears the boys have brought the same stage props and lighting hoists from Sydney, the 7ft vertical towers of lights hung laboriously from the roof behind Matt Clark’s drum kit with the smoke machines meticulously placed on opposite sides of stage. Matt’s a big boy, thick and stocky, with a bikers beard and shaved head, arms as thick as tree trunks. When Maylene open up, he’s who I’m watching… going from a motionless sack of sand to a cracked out octopus within seconds, smashing his skins to oblivion by the time the clock see’s them retreat backstage. The band exhibits a colossal amount of energy. And by the fourth song, a patriotic choir are not only blasting out the choruses, but singing along to the songs in their entirety while Dallas jumps and dives across the stage. He wears a simple white round neck and dusty washed out jeans. No visible tattoos, and relatively slight in build, you wonder how an apparently average guy can bust out such menacing screams. Listening to his brutally abrasive rasp, I wonder how it’s possible to have a band of this nature take their inspiration from Christ. He can sing too… his clean vocal ability, although a little unrefined to likes of certain revolutionists like Patton and Townsend, is eminent throughout some of Maylene’s lighter pieces.

The lead guitarist looks like he was plucked from the swamps of Hicksville. Scruffy red curls anoint his head, and hanging from his chin is a beard that encompasses his look. But, it’s the glasses that set it off. Thick black frames and apparently thick lenses, by no means does his appearance dilute his performance. He jams alongside rhythm as they revive the riffs we’ve listen to so many times before. They’re ability to play with instruments hanging at almost any angle is awe inspiring; bringing to the stage an abstract dance, likened to the final climactic fight scene from a martial arts flick.

Ripping through their set list like a lion escaping a cage, the diversity of attendee’s becomes more apparent, as I’m hit in the head by a rockabilly mosher in a green and black flanny, feet adorned with American cowboy boots as he loses his balance and comes crashing back towards me. Luckily, my drink stays in its cup, barely spilt a drop. Sip…observe. Unfortunately for our photographer, he wasn’t as lucky. Later in the night Dillinger’s Weinman leaps from the stage, dives right on top of him and narrowly misses writing off a very expensive camera.

Totalling stages around the globe, with a reputation for wild and often violent shows, The Dillinger Escape Plan produced no less for us this day. Without the presence of antics like fire breathing and extensive light shows, DEP brought the thunder anyway. The light towers above stage begin to flash, turning the Hi Fi and its patrons into an old movie with stark highlights a contrast over black and white silhouettes. You can no longer see anything clearly; only glimpse those around you in between quick flashes of blinding white light.

Puciato’s muscular build and in your face antics combine to see him as a force to reckon with. His energy, enthusiasm and means of really connecting with his audience have levelled the playing field. Not even half way into their first piece he’s already flying across the room, at times, leaving the stage to climb the balconies on either side of, and scream in the faces of those above him. He seems his most energetic throughout the aggro mosh inducing choruses of Panasonic Youth (2004’s Miss Machine), with its agitated riffs and polyrhythmic time changes, thanks to one of percussions greats, DEP’s drummer, Chris Pennie.

Sunshine the Werewolf (also ex Miss Machine), gives them a moment to breath, a very fleeting moment during the slow monolithic middle section ahead of its roaring guitar harmonies. I now feel like a tank just rolled up in front of me…. and blew my face off. Static and erratic, velocious in nature, song after song we are literally blown away.

The only downside to the night was the sound quality for DEP. Unlike Maylene’s mix, DEP’s balance was terrible, FOH all over the shop. Murmurs could be heard between songs, and disappointed crowd members point fingers at the booth. Too much give in the high end, we missed the punctuation of the strings for most of their songs, a major let down for everyone I spoke with. Yet the erratic nature of Milk Lizard, and sweet choral melodies of Dead as Anything (both additives of 2007’s Ire Works) provide lift and distraction, whilst the bands ballistic nature keep the focus on the stage. Dive after dive, Weinman and Puciato crush the first 5 rows into a ball of limbs as their set ran its course.

Politely declining the opportunity to present an encore DEP retreat, the main lights come back on and the sweat soaked bodies slowly release themselves back into the night. With ears ringing and memories etched into their minds, it’s quite safe to say that today’s bombardment of bands has done everyone’s week much justice.

Review: Dillinger Escape Plan @ The Metro Theatre – Friday May 21, 2010
Interview: Ben Weinman – The Dillinger Escape Plan
Interview: Dallas Taylor – Maylene and the Sons of Disaster
Audio Interview: Ben Weinman – The Dillinger Escape Plan *The Audio version*
The Dillinger Escape Plan – Australian Tour – May 2010 (TOUR DETAILS)