Summer Slaughter, 2013. This traveling underground metal freak show used to be one of my favorite parts of the season. Bands from across the extreme music spectrum (death metal, metalcore, thrash, prog, etc.) all thrown together for a full day of blast beats and distorted guitars. Unfortunately, there has been a sharp decline in the quality of bands aboard the tour each year. Maybe because I'm getting old and senile/out of touch with the scene these days, but this year's lineup was easily the least exciting I've ever seen. It's true, I probably would have stayed home this year and not even bothered with Summer Slaughter 2013, if it wasn't for the nights headliner, the almighty, The Dillinger Escape Plan.
I'm pretty sure I've ranted about Dillinger "a few" times before, let's just say...they're the reason I shelled out top dollar for my Summer Slaughter ticket. We purposely arrived late, missing nearly all the other bands except the last two support acts. Unfortunately, this meant we had to watch Periphery. They started their set as we settled into our perch inside The House of Blues and although extremely popular these days, I simply cannot stand this band. Their drummer is rad and they have some cool guitar stuff, but for the most part, I was grinding my teeth during their entire set. Animals as Leaders was next on the bill. I'd seen Animals As Leaders opening for Dillinger a few years ago, so there was some deja vu going on here. Only last time they played a much shorter set, and as much as I appreciate their shred guitar/instrumental music, after a while I felt bored to tears.
Finally, Dillinger took the stage and all was right with the universe. They opened with "Prancer" and immediately began the high octane circus act that is their live performance. Leaping into the crowd, twirling guitars around like yo-yos, literally climbing the venue's walls and jumping from dangerous heights; I haven't seen the band this possessed in ages. The last time I caught DEP performing at a House of Blues venue was way back in 2005 when they opened for Unearth in Anahiem. Needless to say, the stage was left in utter shambles and people were actually flying off the balcony (AFI singer Davey Havok actually). This time they were in the much larger Hollywood location and were headlining the event. Again, since this wasn't a normal Dillinger gig but rather, the heavy metal hodgepodge that is Summer Slaughter, playing in a large venue before a crowd of new faces meant the band was beyond determined on this night. They played a nice mix of old favorites and new material off their latest album, One of Us Is The Killer.
The thing about Dillinger is that even if you don't enjoy their music, which is almost impossible since I caught several of the 300 pound security guards rocking out during their set, you can still marvel at the band's insane live shenanigans. I lost count of all the times Greg and Ben (who just broke his hand two months ago) jumped into the audience. The highlights of the night were when Greg jumped off the PA system, and later when he ventured toward my side of the venue during the end of "Sunshine The Werewolf" and I sang/screamed/sweated along with him like old times. Check it out (I'm the goober in white):
Once again, Dillinger proved they're the Weapon X of this extreme music shit ("...the best there is at what I do..." for you non-geeks) and put on another legendary performance. Do not hesitate to see this band when they come through your neck of the woods.
*BONUS DILLINGER OVERLOAD CLIP*