Tuesday, May 1, 2007

The First Dismemberment Plan Show In Four Years (4-27-07)

If you know me, you've probably heard me talk about The Dismemberment Plan. They're my jam. Frenetic, original, catchy, dance-able, and totally crazy. Not only that, but two of the members (Travis and Jason) were personally involved in the creation of my band's forthcoming EP. Also, while I was still in Pash, Eric basically mentored me via email regarding bass-playing and touring. And one way or another, I've managed to open for pretty much all of their various side-projects and solo stuff (including an upcoming show with The Gena Rowlands Band, featuring both Eric and Jason). So I'm indebted to this band as friends, mentors, producers, and co-conspirators... and I love their music. Basically, they would've had to try pretty hard to screw this one up.

And lest I forget to mention it, there couldn't have been a better reason to have a reunion show. Meet J. Robbins: a member of crucial DC post-punk bands like Jawbox and Burning Airlines, an amazing producer who helped make The Plan what they would ultimately become (aka amazing), and the father of a very sick son. Callum Robbins has SMA, which is potentially life-threatening and not curable--at least not by conventional medicine. Being that J is an indie rock producer, he is not particularly rich, nor does he likely have the best insurance.

So what does the music community do? Everything they can to help someone who gave so much to them. Benefits were arranged in various parts of the nation featuring great acts like Ted Leo.
A benefit CD (buy it HERE) was put together featuring various indie rock bands, like Engine Down and Travis Morrison. His label even set up a paypal account to which concerned fans can donate. This--not well-manicured press shots--is punk rock. This is a community of musicians looking out for each other.

All that being said, the show began with NYC act Pilot To Gunner (left & center) and MD natives The Oranges Band (right). I've seen PTG before, and they put on a pretty solid indie rawk set, with yelping, ballsy rock much akin to the similarly acronymed PGMG (pretty girls make graves). The Oranges Band seemed a bit rough around the edges, and they kind of had the stage presence of Will Ferrell in Old School, but they surprised me with some super deluxe harmonies. I'm a sucker for harmonies. And it should be noted that one of their better songs was prefaced by admitting J Robbins suggested particularly tasty harmony choices.

And then The Plan took the stage.

None of my pictures capture the liveliness of the show. I was far too busy dancing and singing to really focus on photography. That is a decision I definitely do not regret. The show was a total party, and the songs sounded totally fresh. There were minor technical problems and occasional almost-rusty-sounding moments, but they were few, far-between, and absolutely forgivable. This was not The Eagles playing their greatest hits... again. This was full of life and energy; a new little improvisation here, a brief Beyonce cover there, and bouncing, innovative, tumultuous rock/dance/noise/post-punk/pop everywhere else.

There are a number of videos posted up on youtube from both reunion shows. If you are unfamiliar with the unforgettable experience of a Dismemberment Plan show, you should really check them out.

Note: While everyone was busy dancing madly on stage, a special guest secretly came and played drums. It seems The Plan still has friends in high places. Do you recognize this former tourmate (whose own "Plans" recently went gold)?


Dan Hawkins said...

That was really good for you, I reckon. Makes wish I had already taken your advice and listened to them...

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