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I’m going to hazard a guess that during yesterday’s music-packed evening in D.C., the only show that could rival Peter Brötzmann‘s trio in intensity was The Dillinger Escape Plan at Rock & Roll Hotel. If you’ve seen DEP before or you read my writeup of their Baltimore show this past Feburary, you know the drill.
R&R Hotel had a few security guys lined up in front of the stage to try to keep control. I asked one of them if they knew what they were in for. “Oh yeah, we know all about it,” came the confident reply. The thick padding taped over the venue’s giant wall mirrors, and the ceiling above the stage, seemed to confirm this, but the “NO STAGE DIVING / NO CROWDSURFING” signs posted everywhere were overly optimistic.
Photos and a few more thoughts after the jump. Full gallery here.
I suppose the show was relatively tame by DEP standards—Rock & Roll Hotel has no pillars for people to climb and jump off of, no balconies for band members to scale, etc.—but being in the crowd still felt like hanging on for dear life in the middle of a violently depressurizing airplane. The band willfully ignored the restrictions on stagediving and crowdsurfing (though in retrospect, I didn’t notice any audience members following their lead). Their fog machine quickly filled the venue with a thick haze, and since the Hotel doesn’t exactly have great ventilation, the room became ridiculously hot and after a while I wondered if the fog machine was even still needed or if evaporating sweat from the frenzied crowd was having the same effect.
Musically, DEP seemed to be in fine form, although the sound sucked up front so it was sometimes hard to tell. Still, it was good enough that there were some obvious highlights, like the classic “43% Burnt,” and a surprise appearance of DEP’s Aphex Twin cover “Come to Daddy.” I was a bit disappointed that there didn’t seem to be any new material played, which was surprising given the band will be recording their new album next month.
But setlist nitpicks are just that—nitpicks—and all that really mattered was that DEP whipped themselves and the crowd into a sweaty delirium for 70 minutes.