Dillinger Escape Plan @ DNA Lounge 5/19/13 - photo by Zack Frederick

Early in their set of thrashing, frantic mathcore on Sunday night, The Dillinger Escape Plan‘s lead singer Greg Puciato pulled himself up by the chains of a hanging PA speaker at the DNA Lounge, leaning dangerously forward ten feet above the shoulder-crushing mosh pit on the floor. DEP are well known for their insane live shows — the band members never really stop moving, using cordless guitars and microphones to allow them to go anywhere in the venue — but even still, I was sure Puciato wouldn’t jump into the mosh pit. That’s too dangerous.

Still hanging, Puciato pointed towards the crowd, smiled, and leaped from the hanging PA speaker, landing with knees and elbows bent on the throbbing crowd. Momentarily lost in a pit of bodies, the crowd spit him back up and onto the stage. The rest of the group continued to blaze through “Farewell, Mona Lisa” from their 2010 LP Option Paralysis — a sprawling, whiplashed hardcore piece that ends in a destructive fury as Puciato screams “What did you expect from us?” Nothing less, I had to admit.

That moment set the tone for the rest of the set as DEP pulled hits from their entire catalog. It was the kind of night where the salaciously catchy swagger of “Milk Lizard” would butt up against lurching, double-speed jams pulled from 2004’s Miss Machine and other more obscure releases.

The sound wasn’t perfect as the guitars were mixed a little low, but as good as DEP’s music is, the live show is a spectacle that eclipses any kind of heady sound concern. At any one time, someone is thrashing on top of an amp, throwing themselves into the crowd, or just generally losing their shit. Early in the set, Puciato praised SF’s out-of-control mosh pit: “Three songs in and you guys are the best fucking crowd on the whole tour.”

Opening band Faceless is the kind of technical death metal band that I can only relate to via cartoons like Metalocalypse, where the made-up band Dethklok play an “extreme” death metal that is silly in its religious following of genre stereotypes. That’s kinda the joke.

But Faceless aren’t kidding and their whole sound is a little too polished for my ears — like a perfect computer illustrated cartoon, they didn’t seem to have much life to them. The double bass rumbled and the singer growled and it was well-done, but I wanted something unpredictable, the musical equivalent of frantically wondering whether or not they’re actually going to jump. For that, I’d have to wait.

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