LIVE: The Dillinger Escape Plan / Ho99o9 @ Concorde 2, Brighton

By Glen Bushell

Twenty chaotic years: that’s how long The Dillinger Escape Plan have been pushing the boundaries of heavy music. It’s almost hard to believe when you think about it, and feels criminal that the band have decided to call time on their illustrious career. After bookending their catalogue last year with the excellent ‘Dissociation, and with tonight marking their final UK show, this is, as they say, it.

With crowd as devoted as that of The Dillinger Escape Plan’s, whoever has the task of opening for them has a tough job on their hands. Not if you are Ho99o9, who instantly manage to send the sardine-packed Concorde 2 into a frenzy. Their hip hop infused punk is loud, aggressive and in your face, with TheOGM and Eaddy doing their best to rile up the audience.

For the most part it’s hard to take your eyes off them, but after a few songs they become a bit too much of a racket. The dark hip hop they specialize in is what makes them as exciting as something like Death Grips. If it was all they did, it would be more alluring. Yet the inclusion of hardcore punk and powerviolence breaks feels messy and unwarranted. That’s not to say that hip hop and punk are strange bedfellows; the similarities between to two are endless. Regardless of what you think of Ho99o9, they go over well and set the stage for the headliners perfectly.

The anticipation of The Dillinger Escape Plan’s arrival reaches fever pitch as a brooding EDM backing track build tension in the room. It is then that the band hit the ground running, launching into ‘Prancer’, and in the blink of an eye, ‘Limerent Death’ and ‘Panasonic Youth’. Guitarist Ben Weinman hurls himself around like a whirling dervish, dodging Greg Puciato as he prowls the front of the stage, constantly engaging with the faithful before him.

Amid the hail of seizure-inducing strobe lights, The Dillinger Escape Plan still have the same energy they always had. Newer tracks such as ‘Symptom of Terminal Illness’ match the ferocity of ‘Sugar Coated Sour’. The problem tonight, however, is the sound. The most audible part of the backline is the bass drum, which virtually eclipses everything else and makes the jarring riffs of ‘When I Lost My Bet’ sound like a muddy and disjointed mess.

While that may detract from the power of The Dillinger Escape Plan, it gives the softer elements of their sound a chance to shine. ‘Black Bubblegum’ is as potent as ever, and provides plenty of hip-shaking potency, and ‘Mouth Of Ghosts’ remains just as haunting.

As the set progresses the sound thankfully improves just in time to hear the cacophonic beauty of ‘Farewell, Mona Lisa’ in all its glory, and for ‘Sunshine The Werewolf’ to send the audience seven shades of batshit. Before they say goodbye for the final time, they deliver a rare performance of ‘Setting Fire To Sleeping Giants’, and, as always, bring the house down with a caustic rendition of ‘43% Burnt’, leaving the entire crowd exhausted and fulfilled.

Many bands have tried to replicate what The Dillinger Escape Plan have achieved in their time, but no one can match it. They have left a lasting legacy that cements them as one of the most unique bands of all time, and tonight hammered that point home. Thanks for the memories.