Over The Weekend: The Dillinger Escape Plan, Darkest Hour, Iwrestledabearonce, Animals as Leaders at the Granada

The Dillinger Escape Plan, Darkest Hour, Iwrestledabearonce, Animals as Leaders
Granada Theater
March 20th, 2010

Better than: driving three hours north and wondering what kind of trainwreck might occur at the Stone Temple Pilots' show at WinStar Casino...

The Dillinger Escape Plan had not been in the DFW area in almost two years, and those that said to hell with those fear-mongering winter-weather advisories were treated to a monstrous show at the Granada on Saturday.

While the band's last appearance in the area was a full-on, powerful assault at the Ridglea Theater, Dillinger had a more diverse set this time out. The band members definitely brought the crazed, controlled chaos of songs like "Panasonic Youth," "Fix Your Face," and "43% Burnt."

But a great curveball came in the middle of the set...

Changing the pace completely was "Mouth of Ghosts," the still, jazzy tune found at the end of Ire Works. It was a pleasant respite from all the insanity before and after. Coupled with the tone shifts in "When Good Dogs Do Bad Things" from the band's Irony is a Dead Scene EP, all five members had a chance to breathe. And new drummer Billy Rymer really got the chance to show off his skills as a rightful heir to the drum throne. With a little flash (Alex Van Halen stick twirls on the ride cymbal) and a great understanding of groove and punch, Rymer proved plenty.  

For those that have seen Dillinger before, you saw what you've seen before. By no means was this a bad thing: The band played its already fast and angry material even faster and angrier. Vocalist Greg Puciato commanded the audience while guitarists Ben Weinman and Jeff Tuttle threw themselves (and their guitars) all over the stage.

Interestingly, with a new record only a few days from release, the band played just three songs from Option Paralysis. Still, the show was not a disappointment for the hardcore fans. People got what they wanted: a cathartic blend of aggression and discipline.

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Maybe it was the cold weather, but shortly after doors opened, the venue was almost 70 percent full. Thus, openers Animals as Leaders played to a large (and very welcoming) audience. The Washington D.C. trio played an instrumental chops-fest for 30 minutes straight. The band's approach to technique could have derailed into a wank-fest for the Joe Satriani crowd, but the band kept the crowds' attention and their favor.

Iwrestledabearonce put on probably the most surprising set out of the supporting bands. With a sound that recalls Miss Machine-era Dillinger, the key difference was vocalist Krysta Cameron. She had the kind of range that went from classic grindcore brutality to Bjork.

By comparison to the other bands, Darkest Hour put on probably the most straight-forward set. With a gruff style of At the Gates' metal, the band blazed through a number of songs, including ones from its heralded Undoing Ruin.

Critic's Notebook
Personal Bias:
As a drummer myself, I must confess to sporadic air-drumming during Dillinger's set. Yup, I was that guy, but at least I wasn't going on and on about the kind of equipment the band had.

By The Way: Jeff Tuttle's guitar had "Do It Live!" written in duct tape strips. This, of course, is a reference to the infamous Bill O'Reilly meltdown on Inside Edition.

Random Note: Between songs during Animals as Leaders' set, a guy in the audience sincerely yelled, "Shit, you guys are good!"

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