At long last my months and months of waiting were over: The
Dismemberment Plan were coming back to The Echo Lounge. This
show was all that i thought about for a few weeks, while i listened
their latest album, over and over again. I was pumped when Tracers,
Brillo, and i went to this show.
But first, of course, there were the obligatory opening bands.
First Act: El Guapo. Good name, horrible horrible band. They
were a three piece of guitar, keyboard, and drums, and they
had that certain type of soulless sound typical of people who
know their instrument fairly well, but don't have anything to
say. That is, the band was rhythmically proficient, but their
music lacked heart.
In fact, i was amazed that they were able to look so bored
when they were obviously concentrating very hard on maintaining
their monotonous rhythms. They were like a math rock band attempting,
poorly, to cover Devo. There was none of Devo's nervous energy,
but a lot of angular rhythm and gratuitous keyboard beeping.
After about 15 minutes we Minions retired to the back Lounge
at The Echo for some conversation over our drinks while we ignored
El Guapo. On our way, we rescued the ever-late Zythos, and thus
spared him this band.
Let me spell it out for you: if El Guapo are opening, be late
After a few drinks we waded back out into the packed concert
area to see act two: Ted Leo and the Pharmacists.
Ted Leo is apparently a somebody. I think that he is some scenester
from DC, somebody who has been around a while and been in lots
of bands. He was a scrawny, older looking guy, and he seemed
to have some fans in the crowd going into the show.
He left the show with a few more fans, after putting on an
energetic show of delicious pop-punk. At times the music reminded
me of The Replacements -- a hint of anger tinged with a healthy
dose of sarcasm and screaming guitars. At other times they reminded
me of Big Country -- huge guitar melodies and strong basswork.
The Pharmacists put on a lengthy energetic set. They got a
very positive response from the crowd, and they really got people
worked up to see The Plan. I would go and see Ted Leo again.
So eventually The Dismemberment Plan hit the stage. From the
opening they were on, playing a great set heavy on their new
material. That's fine with me, since i really like Change
a lot. They played excellent versions of Ellen & Ben,
Superpowers, and Timebomb. These songs really
And of course they played The Ice Of Boston, and ended
with a fantastic long version of OK, Jokes Over.
They played wonderfully. Travis Morrison tended to play guitar
more than usual this night, and that made him dance less, which
i am sure was disappointing to many female fans.
My only real complaint has nothing to do with The Plan, rather,
it has to do with what we Minions call "The Curse Of East Atlanta".
Specifically, sound is often muddy and unclear. I have heard
The Plan play in sparkling clarity, each note by each instrument
hanging cleanly in the air, but tonight there was a wall of
sound, all bleeding together. And the bass was up too loud.....
But that's a minor point. In fact, non-Minion affiliate Kerry
remarked that she thought they sounded great. Then again, she
is not as familiar with The Plan's live sound as i am. This
all leads me to wonder if all of this complaining i do about
sound quality in venues is a moot point. If the band plays great,
and sound is not all that bad, most people will have a very
positive experience. Maybe i pay too much attention. Maybe i
over-analyze it too much.
Maybe. Perhaps we should change the EvilSponge motto to read
"we over-analyze so that you don't have to"! [I
don't think so -- Brendan]
At any rate, this was a fun night. One band to avoid in the
future, and two fine bands who put on great sets. If this tour
swings through yer burg, rush out and buy tickets. It's well