When the opportunity of an evening watching mathcore is presented, only a fool would turn it down. Veterans of the scene, The Dillinger Escape Plan, scored a slot at Nottingham’s prestigious venue, Rock City, on their lengthy European tour, which meant an undeniably wild night for everybody involved.
First band of the night, Primitive Weapons, open their set to only a handful of fans. With a cavernous space filling the majority of the venue, it seems most would stand in defeat. However, singer David Castillo is nothing of the sort; almost seeming to exercise his demons on stage. His enthusiasm sends those watching into hysterics, starting the mosh as early as the first song. This small crowd signifies a personal atmosphere to the set, with Castillo chatting amongst songs. Their recent release, The Future of Death, is an epitome of what this genre has to offer, paired with their impressive live performance, giving metal lovers hope for the future of the scene. Rock City starts to fill as the guys end on 'Old Miami', arguably the strongest aspect of their short set.
Next up is a hip-hop trio that definitely have to be seen to be believed. Not having heard of Ho99o9 (supposedly pronounced horror) before, I was eager to see what would follow. Much to my dismay, a tall man appears on stage, with thick dreads, a balaclava and an 80’s style wedding dress. The pounding of the drums proceed, paired with the launching into a nu-metal style rap. For a moment, I feel I’m watching early Limp Bizkit, crossed with Turnstile and The Beastie Boys. Frontmen OGM and Eaddy wake us up with their relentless energy, with Eaddy throwing himself into the crowd a handful of times throughout the set, initiating circle pits on every occasion. The angst is well and truly alive, with an ever-growing crowd thrashing around in their honour. 'Bone Collector' is their strongest lead within the set, sending Eaddy into a seemingly rocket-fueled mosh, whilst OGM sports a head torch for the darkest part of the set. Overall, it seems that their lack of lyrical substance is somewhat overlooked by their impressive level of energy; neither have stopped moving since their set began. However, their outright insane approach makes it hard not to get carried away into heavy mosh.
Despite attending gigs for a fair few years, there are only a small handful of bands that have lived up to, and gone
beyond all expectations. Dillinger push the boundaries every single time, showing us how mathcore should be. Over their 20-year reign, TDEP have accumulated a reputation as being one of the most insane live bands in metalcore, with their confusing yet incessantly addictive formulas aiding them in their rise.
Opening with Dissociation favourite 'Limerent Death' signified a stint of newer material. However, despite a positive response, the night found itself covered in nostalgia, with songs from all 6 albums being aired within a 90-minute spell. As always, Dillinger are note for note perfect, despite sporting their familiar and messy method of rhythm. The momentum builds with each hit, until the guys seem almost untouchable; this kind of atmosphere is priceless, with die-hards screaming each word back to frontman Greg Puciato. With the crowd already in somewhat of an emotional meltdown, fan favourite 'Milk Lizard' turns the night up a notch, if that is even possible. This momentum is carried through the set, with hits 'Symptom of Terminal Illness' and 'Black Bubblegum' rallying the crowd up. The passion flows from start to finish with Puciato, who can barely catch his breath between songs.
The final song of the night comes in the form of '43% burnt', taking us back to the 1999 album Calculating Infinity. If there was ever doubt of an emotional atmosphere in this venue, the disbelief vanished, with some fragile fans crying at the realization of their last Dillinger experience. It’s clear to see the hold this band has on its fans, with most looking disheartened, yet utterly appreciative of what they’ve just witnessed. Although Dillinger seemed to have softened in recent years, they proved what it meant to be part of this following, which will certainly be missed by many.
Photos by: Ryan Winstanley