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All words and photos: Farrah Skeiky

You’re probably of the opinion that you are too mature, or possess too refined of a musical pallet to attend the Summer Slaughter Tour. You don’t belong in the same room as the pregnant couple grinding within reach of the pit; you’re not fond of keeping company with the gentleman on the balcony playing air guitar along with each set. You definitely don’t picture high school metalheads wearing black shirts decorated with indiscernable pointy band logos as part of your Friday night. But above all, you probably think you’re above metal, especially if you’re accessing this review directly from this site.

If you value technical ability, energetic and impassioned performances and incredible showmanship; If you just can’t stand the idea of attending another show standing still with your arms crossed; If you have ever complained about DC audiences not engaging with live music, you missed something great if you missed Dillinger Escape Plan on Friday. In all honesty, they were one of three bands that made the ticket worth it (Animals as Leaders and Periphery being the other two). If you value a lively, engaging performance regardless of genre, this is a band you must see live.

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Despite the fact that the lineup only includes one original member, guitarist Ben Weinman, the entire Dillinger catalog was celebrated, assuring the satisfaction of longtime fans and newcomers alike. Even Calculating Infinity, which only Weinman was part of (and almost entirely composed), got its time to shine with “43% Burnt.” The balance of new and old material kept the adrenaline high, and was accompanied by a great performance philosophy: It’s Friday night, go the fuck off. From pushing each other around to jumping off stacks and bass drums, there was no token stationary musician on stage. Fan interaction was heavy, and once again, DC experienced a case of serious music being performed by a group of guys who probably aren’t very serious at all. Dillinger care about putting on a good show, not necessarily a good metal show.

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The dedication to creating a unique audiovisual experience is apparent on and off stage– Dillinger began releasing material from their own label, Party Smasher Inc. in 2010 with the release of Operation Paralysis. This was in response to the big business the metal industry had become, and the wish to revive trustworthy indie labels. Live, this translates to hidden gems of old familiar riffs clandestinely hidden in new materials and solos, and graphics and visuals that implore the audience to understand and relate by doing their homework after the show. There were plenty of smiles on stage, plenty of almost striking each other with instruments, and a great deal of showing, not telling the audience how much was demanded of them by holding their own performance to the highest of standards.

You don’t have to like metal or mathrock, or even care about technical ability to enjoy a Dillinger Escape Plan show. The only requirement is that you appreciate a good performance and a good time. And yes, spectacular people watching is included.

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