w/ The Dillinger Escape Plan and Nightmare of You
July 31, 2006
Long Island, New York’s Nightmare of You were perhaps an interesting choice for the evening’s bill. However, playing in front of such a diverse crowd did not seem to phase frontman Brandon Reilly. Reilly took the stage with grace and self-confidence as he lead his band through a tight thirty minute set which covered most of the material from their self-titled release. Despite the nearly suffocating heat and often daunting appearance of the Agora, the band never missed a beat and played as though every person in the room was there just for them. The often sceptical crowd was easily won over by the group’s original take on post-new wave. Their bold take on a genre once thought to be a flash in the pan gimmick of the 80’s proved successful as more than a few people were observed bobbing their heads and dancing along to the music as the set progressed. After their set, members of the band were on hand at the merch table to greet fans. While many there mentioned that it was their first exposure to Nightmare of You, they assured Reilly, who was flanked by drummer Sammy Seigler, that it wouldn’t be their last.
The Dillinger Escape Plan wasted no time in declaring that they had arrived. After a brief set change, the backdrop was raised and a circle pit has erupted in the centre of the floor. Clearly, those in attendance were in for something special. From the very first chords of Panasonic Youth, singer Greg Puciato delivered a non stop aural assault that did not let up until the houselights came up and the band exited the stage. Following Nightmare of You may have been a difficult task, but it was one taken in stride. The band whipped the crowd into a mass of bodies and limbs, which, in turn, was mirrored on stage. Before anyone could stop to take a breath, the band has started into the next song. To say that the Dillinger Escape Plan put on a show is an understatement. Microphone stands were thrown, cymbals were hurled across stage like frisbees, and at one point in the set, Puciato scaled the speaker stacks much to the chagrin of both security and his long suffering tour manager.
They are a band that does not take themselves too seriously, intermixing bits of modern pop culture [i.e. a line of Justin Timberlake here, a line of Christina Aguilera there.] with their stage banter. Covering crowd favourites such as 43% Burnt and Baby’s First Coffin, Puciato bounced across stage and interacted with the crowd as if he were playing 331 Somerset back in New Jersey. Such inclusion and interactivity with the crowd is refreshing, especially in a scene where politics, fashion and haircuts take precedence over actual music. The Dillinger Escape Plan are out to blur the lines between punk and metal, and from the looks of the performance that they turned in, they are well on their way to achieving their goal.
There is very little that can be said about AFI and their ever growing legion of fans that hasn’t already been said before. Known for some of the most rabid fans in the business, AFI take pride in knowing that the standards are set high for their live performance. From the moment that The Dillinger Escape Plan Stepped off the stage, and not even enough time for the techs to walk onto the stage, the crowd burst into the traditional <b.AFI pre-show chant, “through our bleeding we are one.” with almost militaristic fervour.
No sooner had the backdrop been raised, the crowd exploded. A circle pit erupted in the middle of the floor, kids became antsy, and the chants became louder and more fervent; all of this before the band had even stepped foot on stage. Their anticipation was short lived as the houselights were brought down and a single white spotlight illuminated the stage revealing a single white microphone. Lead singer Davey Havok was greeted with eardrum splitting shrieks and cheers as he assumed his pose. From the opening chords of Prelude 12/21 to the closing notes of current chart topper Miss Murder. Perhaps the most surprising element of the entire evening was that the majority of the set was comprised of material from the band’s previous release, Sing the Sorrow. None the less, the band attacked each song with enough intensity and raw emotion to fill a small arena. Perhaps, while only playing theatres, that was the illusion that they were going for: that somehow music is bigger than the venue that that it’s played in.
Singer Havok made the midsized theatre feel as intimate as a living room show, often stepping off stage to fully interact with their fans, most notably during the encore where he, rather bravely, stepped not only off the stage, but onto the crowd. His crowd walk has become a time honoured tradition since the inception of the band. Everyone seemed in high spirits, including their long suffering tour manager Smith Puget, who even took a running leap into the crowd during God Called In Sick Today. Such an action caused an outburst of laughter from the crew and highly confused looks from security, unsure whether or not they ought to throw the “hooligan” out or let the crowd have their way with him.
The highlight of the evening was not only an appearance of the nearly decade old song, A Single Second, but the presentation of the fan chain courtesy of the bands’ fan club, the Despair Faction. The chain had been compiled by a member of the Faction and was presented to the band’s tour manager before the show. Fans from all over the world illustrated a link on the chain and was presented onstage during the show. Guitarist Jade Puget displayed the chain onstage and it stretched from the far left to the far right with links to spare.
The setlist for the show was as follows:
Girls Not Grey
Leaving Song pt2
Ever And A Day
Endlessly She Said
Silver and Cold
A Single Second
This Time Imperfect
Death of Seasons
Love Like Winter
Dancing Through Sunday
God Called in Sick Today