Flinders St Station is crawling with black. Swanston St has become a makeshift highway of band t-shirts and skinny jeans. There’s more spikey hair and leather than most know what to do with. This all points to one thing – it’s Soundwave week in Melbourne town.
Thursday night sees heavy gigs happening across the city as revellers prepare for the main event the following day. The Dillinger Escape Plan’s headliner at the Hi-Fi Bar is my sidewave of choice, boasting some fantastic supports in Glassjaw and Dir En Grey.
Going into the night, Dir En Grey were somewhat of an unknown quantity, with the Japanese hardcore band having very little exposure in Australia prior to Soundwave. Having said that, they’re international touring veterans and it shows on stage. Vocalist Kyo has a commanding stage presence and the result yields a very hard act for Glassjaw to follow.
Glassjaw are LOUD, yet fantastic. It takes a special kind of band that can manage to be so off kilter, yet maintain some degree of melody. Frontman Daryl Palumbo is energetic as he makes his way around the stage. Despite it being obvious most in attendance are here for the headliners, Glassjaw do an admirable job. ‘Black Nurse’ in particular gets a fantastic response, while the searing ‘(You Think You’re) John Fucking Lennon’ almost certainly weakened a few ear drums.
Finally, it was time for the main event.
Without wasting time, Greg Puciato is in the crowd before he’s even had a chance to sing the first line of ‘Prancer,’ one of the better songs of their latest effort One of Us is the Killer. This trend continues for the duration of The Dillinger Escape Plan’s set, with each member taking turns to launch themselves off speakers, throw instruments around and generally create chaos.
A quick hello from Puciato, and guitarist Ben Weinman leads the band into Option Paralysis cut ‘Farewell, Mona Lisa.’ If you didn’t know better, one could accuse Dillinger of peaking early in the set as the vast majority of the crowd raises the roof, singing along to the chorus. It’s a rare moment of melody in what is otherwise a discordant set. Next, Ire Works groover ‘Milk Lizard’ has everyone in the room moving before descending into mayhem.
However, it’s this form of barely controlled chaos that has given Dillinger such an impressive reputation in heavy music circles. They’re uncompromising, technical and just plain mental, and it works brilliantly. Only a couple of tracks into the set and The Hi-Fi is already steaming, the band looking like they’ve just stepped out of the shower.
Tying up the set, punters were treated to Dillinger’s version of Come to Daddy (Aphex Twin), with the added bonus of CJ McMahon from Thy Art Is Murder joining the band. Finishing up with 43% Burnt renders the phrase ‘going out with a bang’ somewhat irrelevant, as Dillinger throw themselves around the room one last time.
Having been part of the Soundwave touring party many times over, Dillinger Escape Plan have more than established a loyal fan base here in Melbourne. When they put on shows like Thursday night, one can understand why.
Photos By Chris Davies