P&C’s humble blogger and Esteban Miguel got out not really to review a reunion gig of one of our favorite, most beloved bands of all time, but to just fucking enjoy it and have a time. As one stop on a sold out small tour roster that includes New York, Chicago, Philadelphia, and their hometown Washington D.C., Dismemberment Plan wowed with a thrilling set featuring most of the tracks from their absolutely stunning 1998 record Emergency & I, among others. The cobbled, and glittering review, follows…
One of the most monumental bands of my teenage angst, my teenage freedom, my teenage purity, and my teenage immaturity, is D.C.’s Dismemberment Plan, who played their last sold out show–a charity benefit–circa 2007 at the Black Cat in their hometown.
Until last night, that is, when a sold out crowd at the Paradise hearkened back to all those days and followed lead singer Travis Morrison into a life of possibilities, bowing to his every move.
A finger wagged, thousands of fingers up and swaying side to side; a maniacal thrusting about the stage, mirrored innately by a maniacally back and forth thrusting about the pit. An insistence we all “put our hands in the air and wave them like you just don’t care.”
None of us cared to be doing anything but being the freaks and geeks of the early 90s we all were, fingers wagged, bodies swayed, hands in the air.
And when the band’s most treasured gift presented itself–monumental track “You Are Invited”–it all began with a quiet hum at which easily progressed into a Parkinsonian shake to the pulse of the drum machine, and then ultimately, to an absolutely explosive purging, thrusting, moving, losing your own shit unit akin to the likes of euphoria and confusion when say, a baby is born, or something. Literally, and metaphorically, I suppose?
Churning out all the hits in a pristine, tight set just shy of 2 hours, it was as if they never missed a beat, never stopped playing a gig, or were gone at all, playing host to “A Life of Possibilities”, “The City”, “Time Bomb”, Gyroscope”, “Girl O’Clock”, “I am a Magician”, and humble blogger personal favorite for the fact she used to walk K Street every morning to work as a wee 21 year old, too, headphones on, “Spiders in the Snow” blasting her into the start of a day.
The massive sing along and cathartic angst that came from the late 20s and 3os crowd for “What Do You Want Me To Say?” felt as young as the day you were 19 and declaring yourself to someone so importantly, seeking recognition, someone to walk along with, all those things.
When bands like Dismemberment Plan were trying to make a name, gather a following, make a go at it, seek recognition–apparently it was uncool to brand the undefinable and well, turn it into something definable and stand it on the legs it already had, cool by being uncool. As the musical landscape has changed in the last 10 years, bands like Dismemberment Plan have more of a place in brand culture; but it makes me that much more pleased to know I could feel a band like this back then, when it was uncool as the coldest Ice of Boston, and not in a good way.
It isn’t, wasn’t, tainted by branding, marketing, or anything else sanctimonious.
Dismemberment Plan didn’t, doesn’t, need branding. It’s not looking to be cool by difference. It just is. And that makes the entire affair that much more special; listening to a record like “Emergency & I” is so much more meaningful and nostalgic and, heck, it sounds better too when you can associate it with the rags and riches of your teenagehood. You look to it fondly, and all the moments around it, and are happy to know, that you too, as you get older, are pleased you didn’t have “Chick-fil-a” around so that at 3o, 32, 35 years old, you can still move around like a fucking 18 year old at a gig, all rubbing on everyone, going back and forth, and back and forth.
We certainly were invited, Dismemberment Plan, for all time. What a fucking time it was. Then, and now.