It’s a familiar story: You stop paying attention for one second, and a large woman riding piggyback through the pit punches you in the face. My own fault, really, for standing pit-adjacent with my head down. In the words of Greg Puciato, lead singer for The Dillinger Escape Plan, “What the f*ck did you expect?”
Friday night’s scene in the Beauty Bar’s backyard was a picturesque setting metalcore fans wish every show could be like—packed to capacity, its furious pit consuming the crowd, but with a friendliness amid the mad ruckus that lifted up fallen fans to keep them from getting trampled. That includes the band, which frequently leapt offstage—instruments in hand—climbed speaker stacks and even traded the microphone to fans for beers, which were promptly chugged and crushed. It was a sight to behold.
The music stayed mostly contemporary, swinging between brand new material—including never-before-played-live song “Highway Robbery”—and multiple tracks off latest three albums Ire Works (2007), Option Paralysis (2010) and One of Us Is the Killer (2013). One of the aspects I enjoy most about DEP is that, in contradiction to most metalcore peers, they don’t perform chugging breakdowns, instead opting for ambient slow portions. Their songs peak and valley, without much in between, and the downtime builds tension that authentically explodes with a double-kick and a scream.
The storied Jersey outfit, which had left Vegas off tour routes the past few years, apologized profusely for the exclusion. After Friday night’s bedlam, I wouldn’t be surprised to see the band back quickly and frequently.