Arts Desk

The Dismemberment Plan Weekend: What We Learned

With contributions from Alex Baca, Matt Siblo.

- The Dismemberment Plan has good taste in openers. Best warm-up set has to go to Bluebrain, which despite a muddy audio mix was easily the biggest mindfuck: The duo had massive brass-horn edifices strapped to their backs, an actual brass section, video projections, and several of the band's pals decorating the duo's pedestal props with magic marker. I missed Batala's Saturday set but heard good things, and J. Robbins' Office of Future Plans should please fans of anything he's done, but especially Jawbox.

- The Dismemberment Plan has good taste in pop covers. On Friday, it embedded Robyn's "Fembot" within "OK Jokes Over." On Saturday: Far East Movement's "Like a G6." On Sunday: "Single Ladies."

- As tight as D-Plan gets—and each night, it was tighter than the previous—it always finds ways move around within its songs. That can take the form of Travis Morrison's vocal hop-scotches (altered cadences, asides to the audience, doom-metal delivery) or Jason Caddell's noodling, Eric Axelson's impressionistic keyboard slams. Joe Easley, much to his credit, rarely leaves the pocket.

- There were videographers at both 9:30 Club shows (five, says WaPo's Chris Richards). Begin DVD speculation now.

- Musical (in-)jokes abounded: Targets included Smart Went Crazy, Cex, Ian MacKaye. (I should have worn my Fugazi pants, said Morrison on Sunday. Caddell: "Ian's gonna punch us all in the balls!")

- Morrison has a beard now. He referenced it all three nights, sometimes with allusions to its agency/feelings.

- Band onesies help ensure that future generations will be sufficiently jaded by the time they hit middle-school.

- Morrison's on-stage charisma is enhanced by the subtle yet no less effective charm offensive of Axelson and Caddell.

- Morrison mentioned on the first night that he lives in New York now. He was booed.

- Morrison had brunch at Meridian Pint on Sunday. INDIE ROCK STALKER.

- Every D-Plan media appearance is priceless in its own way. Proof: TBD, NPR.

- The best place to run into someone you haven't seen in months/years is on stage, dancing to "The Ice of Boston."

- The number of black X's in the crowd suggested a lot of the kids who dig D-Plan now were in elementary school during the band's original run.

- On Saturday and Sunday, Travis was wearing a black button-up. Was it the same black button-up he wore at every show toward the end of the band's run? Don't think so. Still counts.

- Despite three sold-out shows, lots of people seemed to have extra tickets. In a recession, people stock up on gold and indie-rock nostalgia.

- Everyone live-tweeting the show felt compelled to make a "Standing Still" joke.

- Some people brought kids!

- There remains no greater source of joy in this world than the climax of "You Are Invited."

- D-Plan records are great because they're personal. D-Plan shows are great because they're communal. It's all about the ritual.

This is what we learned.

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