The Dillinger Escape Plan – Manchester Academy 2 – 20th January 2017

Coming into a gig like this, of a last show and a band that means so much to the world of a Hardcore fan, it seems stupid that any support could amass to this. Thankfully Primitive Weapons (7), took this opportunity perfectly and delivered an intense Hardcore delivery. Though this band might not have been known to the British audience due to coming from America and only being on their debut record, the group impressed amazingly and certainly gave fans enough to talk about coming from their set. For starters the band’s infectious frontman busted out great moves flailing his arms to the intensity caused from the rest of the band, causing the mood of an already intense gig to seem uncontrolled from the start. The best moment however came from a track from their debut album The Future Of Death, entitled Panopticon Blues, with lyrics such as “we’re locked, we’re trapped, we’re never alone” dedicated to new American President Donald Trump. If this band carry on releases like this and touring in the UK, we could see the next big hardcore band to take the reigns from the retiring Dillinger Escape Plan and this can only be good for the scene.

Coming up next was Ho99o9 (pronounced “Horror”) (8) with an intense sense of Punk, Rap and Dub within their musical sensibilities, made obvious with frontman Eaddy‘s choice of a Bad Brains T-Shirt which the group were hugely similar too. Placid and static would not be the right words for this group as with the band only having 3 members they caused intensity right from the off. In truth the way they acted on stage made Dillinger reserved, which for most is no easy feat to pull off. After throwing popcorn, cornflakes and Eaddy climbing on the shoulders of one of the crowd members to add chaos to the moshpit, this was a band security had to be there to deal with. The other frontman and DJ theODG  had a one man mosh-pit controlling the soundboard that accompanied Ho99o9‘s intense sound. With tracks such as No Regrets taking an intense electronic and rap spin through to the intense hardcore shouts of Twisted Metal, this is a true underground band that needs to be pushed to more people.

Finally the main event of the evening came from The Dillinger Escape Plan (10) who gave a set that few others could even try to compete with. What was good to note was that out of the 16 songs they played, 9 came off their last two albums. This shows that the band are hugely proud of their most recent material and rightly so. Playing tracks such as One Of Us Is The Killer, set opener Limerent Death and Symptoms Of A Terminal Illness, all sounded perfect live and up to the quality of the rest of their material. This is a band that it is sad to see go, but to know they did it on their terms in a set choice that screams out for modern material this is only the best way to summarise a quality band that is Dillinger.

For the rest of their time on stage however, hits such as Milk Lizard, Black Bubblegum and Prancer made the crowd go ballistic. From front to back the arena screamed out every lyric to every song, and the room came alive for what was considerably the best band to have come out of Hardcore/Metal in the past 20 years. From what was seen on pictures from this tour (of the band jumping from balconies) and their history from shitting in a bag at Leeds 2002 or climbing the rungs of the tent at Download 2014, this was a more reserved and more focused Dillinger we saw tonight. Not too dissimilar from your average metal band they seemed on point, focused and in touch with the music. What was different was their technical proficient ability and the crowd’s reaction to this insane band. As Dillinger have always been shrouded in controversy their last Manchester gig was no different as their encore was stopped halfway through Sunshine The Werewolf and just before 43% Burnt (as seen from the sets on the rest of the UK tour) due to an injury in the crowd. With this talking point however, this gives a great memory to this show, and puts them out there as a band whose existence has been a controversial talking point, right until their very last tour. It’s a shame that The Dillinger Escape Plan are choosing to retire, but what an amazing way to do so.