Monday, September 15, 2003

Dillinger stands out among Take Action's punk tedium

By Chris Varias
The Cincinnati Enquirer

When does a half-hour set become too tedious? When there are six of them in one show.

Punk rock's love of the multi-band package is currently on display in the form of the Take Action Tour. The event involves 12 bands that assemble in various groupings for each stop.

The tour's third night came to Bogart's Saturday as a six-band bill, featuring Poison the Well, Dillinger Escape Plan, Further Seems Forever, Eighteen Visions, Shai Hulud and Since By Man. (The bands Cincinnati missed out on are Avenged Sevenfold, These Arms Are Snakes, Throwdown, Hisma, Shadows Fall and This Day Forward.)

It was as if a trimmed-down version of the Warped Tour had shoehorned itself into a club. Take Action benefits a national suicide hot line, and there were tables with information regarding suicide prevention and other causes set up in the club. There were also extra merchandise booths in consideration for the numerous bands playing, and the crowd was a near-sellout. It made for tight quarters.

If only there were multiple stages it would have been a true mini-Warped. Instead, the between-band changeovers were quick, making for a near-continuous string of music from 7:30 p.m. to a quarter-past midnight.

The style of music was more focused than Warped. Metallic, hardcore punk ruled the evening, with the emo stylings of Further Seems Forever serving as the lone exception.

The sameness grew old, and only Dillinger Escape Plan transcended the din. The five-piece band was the hardest of the bunch, the most musical of the bunch and put on the most exciting and visually explosive performance.

The group goes beyond the straight-ahead grind of its peers on the tour by infusing progressive-metal sensibilities - strange stops and starts, and oddball and unexpected time changes. It's similar to the type of things done by Mr. Bungle and System of a Down, so it make sense each of those groups has taken Dillinger Escape Plan out on the road.

The band's stage act was far more advanced than any of the other five's. Dillinger would play out of sight, softly and slowly, somewhere within the glow of bright-green light bathing the stage. Then, the lights would cut, the music would accelerate and the boys would be there, flailing at their instruments and darting around the stage in full rocking glory for all to see.


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