It’s hard to not be excited heading into your first Dillinger gig. Any band with a “crazy moments” tour compilation on youtube and Dillinger’s musical energy has to be good live. They were playing their final London show at the O2 Forum in January, accompanied by Primitive Weapons and the somewhat unexpected Ho99o9, which is apparently pronounced ‘horror.’ After being encouraged to pay ‘two or three times face value, because it’s worth it’ GumTree coughed up a few tickets for far less than that, and it was off to see Dillinger say goodbye to London.
Sadly, I missed Primitive Weapons entirely, largely because both I and the group I was with were a bit turned off by the middle-act position of Ho99o9. Their descriptions online leave one expecting some embarassing cross between a Rob Zombie moving and the Insane Clown Posse – bearing that in mind you’d be forgiven for taking your time to step through the Forum doors. Remember kids – no readmittance!
Ho99o9 were in full swing when I arrived, and actually, I pretty quickly regretted not arriving earlier. As remarked by a fellow concert-goer, there was something of an industrial band to their performance; deep growling basslines, a continuous thud, and projection screens showing a random sequence of videos one could refer to as ‘edgy.’
Ignoring the AV sideshow, lead singer/rapper theOGM and Eaddy did a solid job of showing the crowd they belonged at a mathcore gig with a properly rowdy performance. Not quite Dillinger Escape Plan rowdy, but enough to wake people up and get the pit moving, at least with some guidance from theOGM, who declared he clearly had to show us how it was done. theOGM also reminded us the band wasn’t just a hip hop ensemble; a few tracks ventured back into properly early 80s hardcore vocals with a 2000’s bass boost to keep things current. By the time they wrapped up, we’d had our first crowdsurfers for the night; surely a sign of appreciation.
When it came time for Dillinger to come on, time was looking pressing; London venues generally have to kill things off at 11 on the dot, and something seemed to be wrong; sound checks went on for some time, and then there was nothing. Did a band member get lost? Were they primping their hipster haircuts? Whatever the reason, there was some time to peruse the crowd and note that aside from their excellent metal reputation, they also maintain some solid hipster cred; plenty of well-groomed beards, some earlobe plugs. No manbuns were sighted – they might not be cool any more.
When Dillinger did finally hit the stage, they were a little less overwhelming visually than might have been expected, but very much the aural assault that everyone was hoping for. Greg Puciato doesn’t hold back live and expects a crowd to return the favour; the Forum seemed happy to respond. Given the chance (and songs fitting into a mortal concert-goer’s vocal range), the audience sang along to most tracks while offering up a steady feed of crowd surfers to the possibly overworked security staff.
The band has clearly calmed down since their early days; a necessity with a nonstop touring schedule and bodies closer to forty than thirty. Still, there was plenty of crowdsurfing by the audience and Puciato, and an apparently traditional guitar solo performed while being held up (standing) by the audience.
Setlists get a bit tricky by the time you’ve been around 20 years, especially for a farewell tour, but a pretty steady stream of fan favorites was offered up alongside tracks from the new album. You’re inevitably going to miss someone’s favorites, but they had a pretty spread from what I know of their catalog.
The encore was a quick one; Puciato commented that they were probably getting fined for a late finish, and charged straight into their last two tracks, appropriately enough wrapping up the Dillinger set with 43% Burned – the track he used to audition for the band in 2001. Time was found afterwards for, oddly enough, their cover of Nine Inch Nails’ ‘wish.’ Perhaps it’s not that odd – maybe after 20 years, you’re tired of playing the fan favourites from your back catalog. Whatever the reason, it was a rocking finish to a rowdy night. Glad I’ll be seeing them again at Wacken – would be even better seeing them at the Roundhouse or Koko, but I’ll take what I can get.
Symptom of Terminal Illness
When I Lost My Bet
Sugar Coated Sour
Hero of the Soviet Union
Low Feels Blvd
One of Us Is the Killer
Nothing to Forget
Farewell, Mona Lisa
Sunshine the Werewolf
Mouth of Ghosts
Wish (Nine Inch Nails cover)
YouTube Set Playlist