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  THE DISMEMBERMENT PLAN w/ Ted Leo & The Pharmacists and El Guapo  
  The Echo Lounge  
  East Atlanta, GA  
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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 to Change, 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 like Zythos.

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 shined live.

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 worth it.

Related Links:

A review of Change, the album that The Plan were on tour for.


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