For 20 years The Dillinger Escape Plan have carved their name into music history. Not only are the New Jersey progressive experimental metallers highly respected for their songwriting expertise, they are also one of the tightest and most chaotic live bands on the planet.
But sadly after six albums and six EPs and many trips around the globe, the band have decided to call it a day. And tonight is bittersweet as it is not only Dillinger’s last show in Australia as part of their farewell tour but also the last gig at Max Watts before it closes its doors forever.
The pavement lining the streets of the venue is packed with fans eagerly awaiting the chance to experience the madness that only the Dillinger Escape Plan can bring one last time. And as we shuffle into the venue it’s hard not to be moved by so many great memories of past shows that once graced this very room at one of Brisbane’s most loved venues, Max Watts.
Support for the tour comes from Melbourne’s Closure in Moscow, who have made a name for themselves over the years as one of Australia’s best musical exports. Even though their musical style seemed a bit misplaced for Dillinger they still put on their game faces and smash out an epic set to warm up the crowd and put on a memorable set.
By the time Dillinger prepare to hit the stage the room is packed from top to bottom. There is hardly any room to move as people frantically squeeze through fellow fans to try get as close to the oncoming chaos as possible. Wasting no time at all, the moment the band hits the stage drummer Billy Rymer gives the four count and we’re driven straight into the sporadic and demonic notes of ‘Prancer’, the opening track from ‘One Of Us Is The Killer’. You can instantly feel the crowd pulse forward as frontman Greg Puciato throws himself into the crowd, commanding his fans to give it their all one last time. And the room inevitabley flys into a frenzy.
Even with everything that’s going on, it’s hard to ignore guitarist Ben Weinman, the only remaining original member of the band. He is beyond impressive to watch. You’ve never seen anything quite like his chaotic energy until you’ve physically witnessed it in person. And it leaves you wondering how the hell anyone can do a spin kick off a speaker stack and not miss a single note, it is really something else. The band feeds off of the rooms incredible energy that is being fed back and forth from the crowd. Whether it’s fans in the back of the room or up against the barrier, everyone is giving the guys their full and undivided attention.
There is an adrenaline present on stage that can only be witnessed at a Dillinger Escape Plan show. Their chemistry is like no other band on the circuit. It’s unsystimatic, it’s unrehearsed, but boy does it work. They’ve shared the stage for so many years that the unexpected is what makes their live shows work.
Smashing through a diverse setlist that includes songs like ‘Milk Lizard’, ‘Sugar Coated Sour’ and ‘Farewell, Mona Lisa’ they come to a close with ‘Limerent Death’. Leaving the stage, lights shining on the crowd as sampled feedback seems to echo for what feels like an eternity. Though it is quickly drowned out by the sound of “DILLINGER!” being chanted by an eagerly awaiting crowd. We all stand there knowing very well this is it. These are our final moments with one of our favourite bands. This will be Dillinger Escape Plans final moments on stage in Australia and boy do they make sure they make the most of each and every single last second they are up there.
‘Sunshine The Werewolf’ and ‘43% Burnt’ are the final songs we get. And they nail them. Greg spends most of his time in the crowd, coaching people further back to crowd surf their way to him at the barrier and sing with him. Everyone has at least one turn in the crowd, Puciato hilariously pushing rythym guitarist Kevin Antreassian back as Kevin tries to get himself back onstage. Drummer Rymer clearly wanted in on the action, grabbing his cymbal stand ( with said cymbal still attached) and stage dives, crowd surfing while smashing his cymbal.
Tonight we witnessed one of the best metal bands in the history or music play their final ever show in Australia. It was amazing, it was emotional and it was worth is moment. It is seriously hard to come to terms with it, but they left us on the best note. Farewell, Dillinger Escape Plan. Thanks for all the great times.
Photos by Dan Maynard