It’s no secret now that THE DILLINGER ESCAPE PLAN are parting ways after their world tour this year. This makes tonight extra special; the first date of their UK tour and the final time Norwich will play hosts to the band with such a legendary live reputation. There are big expectations this evening.
Kicking off the night is Brooklyn mob PRIMITIVE WEAPONS. Luckily the group played to quite a healthy-sized crowd enabling frontman David Castillo to feed off the punters’ energy, flailing around on stage to the band’s energetic post-hardcore. With a live show and sound not to dissimilar to CANCER BATS, PRIMITIVE WEAPONS are an entertaining force to watch live. There’s no doubt the most captivating member is Castillo, with his intense eye contact and his love of hopping on and jumping off floor monitors. You get the feeling the band know they’re opening for DILLINGER, so a bit of active interaction with stage equipment is a taste of what’s to come. Newest single Panopticon Blues goes down a treat with plenty of banging heads down the front. The band look chuffed at the end of the set and the crowd seem to be equally impressed too.
There was a bit of a buzz surrounding the next band HO99O9, “I heard they were rap” was the general consensus so everyone was a little intrigued. This is a DILLINGER gig after all, so anything could happen. I don’t think anyone was prepared for when HO99O9 did burst into action though, with vocalist Eaddy diving into the crowd. The pit lapped it up, getting the chaotic energy going while theOGM, clad in a wedding dress and balaclava, kicked into an intense vocal delivery HO99O9 will no doubt will become infamous for. Audience members were either standing there perplexed or instantly won over, but there’s no denying HO99O9 got a reaction from every single person in the room. If you couldn’t see the band, then you could definitely feel their sound, with the bass absolutely tearing through you, rooting you to the spot. TheOGM swapped the balaclava for a head torch and before his intense solo interlude. When both vocalists work together along with their drummer, the band supply Norwich with a bit of everything from hardcore punk to grime. Love them or hate them, there’s a high chance you’ll be dancing by the end of their set.
By now, the venue was buzzing with anticipation for THE DILLINGER ESCAPE PLAN. After the visual delight of HO99O9, expectations were high, but fans needn’t have worried as the experimental troupe crashed into our consciousness with a backlight of strobes and pure intensity. Opening with Limerent Death, the band wasted no time in bringing absolute carnage to Norwich, swinging from the ceiling and crawling on the tops of the crowd. Guitarist Ben Weinman especially, being held up by fans so he could stand on heads like some sort of triumphant progressive god. The band bashed out all the favourites including Milk Lizard and Hero of the Soviet Union in a flail of swinging beards and guitars. Vocalist Greg Puciato seemed a little shy tonight with regard to his reputation of being an absolute madman on stage, but his stage presence still surpasses the majority of his contemporaries, cementing the fact there will be a gaping hole left in live metal once the band part ways. Barely a word is spoken between songs and once the set is over, there are no goodbyes. All that was needed to be said was expressed through the band’s brutal delivery. Absolutely spellbinding.
Photographs courtesy of Lee Harper/Go To The Gig.