Arts Desk

Photos: The Dillinger Escape Plan @ Ottobar

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The first track on The Dillinger Escape Plan's latest album is called "Fix Your Face." This title likely refers to what anyone who attends their concerts will need to do at some point during the set. For instance, myself: about three-quarters of the way through DEP's insanely intense show at the Ottobar last night, guitarist Ben Weinman kicked me square in the nose while doing one of his spin/jump/stagedive moves. I'm surprised it only happened once. With crowd surfers, stage divers, Weinman, and vocalist Greg Puciato flying over my head all night, emerging unscathed was a minor miracle.

If you've never seen DEP live, well, go check them out on YouTube, because even if you're not into their dissonant, mathy brand of metal, you've gotta respect a band that spazzes out as completely as this one does the instant it hits the stage. (Relatively tame example: this one.) I will never understand how they—Weinman in particular—can be human pinballs all night while still nailing every single crazy time change and off-kilter riff in their twisting compositions.

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Puciato, a Baltimore native, praised the Ottobar crowd for consistently matching the band's insanity, and he wasn't making it up: fans were climbing support beams and jumping off them into the crowd, surfing onto the stage only to get thrown back off again, singing along to every word, and headbanging with an intimate familiarity of each and every odd-time riff. Also of note was new drummer Billy Rymer, who acquitted himself well given the difficulty of the material, and the setlist, which drew evenly from the band's three full-length albums and included both their old-school mathcore stuff and their newer, more melodic songs.

DEP mixes the precision of metal and avant-rock with the raw energy and physicality of hardcore, and the combination is pretty much mind-boggling in a live setting. If this doesn't end up being one of the best shows I see all year, at the very least it will almost certainly be the most viscerally intense ones I see all year. Or ever again, for that matter, at least until I see DEP the next time around.

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More photos at Flickr.

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