The Dismemberment Plan at the Metro, 2/19

Since The Dismemberment Plan’s music was introduced to me only a couple of years ago, about five years after they broke up, while listening to them I would often get those painful pangs of “I-will-never-be-able-to-see-this-band-live-EVER” in my chest. It’s much like the feeling I get whenever I listen to Nirvana or Marvin Gaye, but less dramatic, probably because none of the members of this band are dead. Needless to say, I geeked out for a good week when a close friend of mine told me D-Plan (as fans often call them) was going to do a reunion tour. It was like Marvin Gaye and Kurt Cobain came back from the dead – but perhaps less dramatic.

The Dismemberment Plan is often considered a part of the Washington D.C. post-punk or post-hardcore revival that occurred in the mid 90s. The band came together around 1993 during the dog days of the grunge movement and when ‘alternative’ really still meant alternative, not just ‘unknown but familiar’ and ‘vaguely rock-ish’. While there are obvious slowed-down punk influences in their music, they also include some aspects of R&B and hip-hop, at least on an experimental level. You can stick this band easily into any of a number of categories, but they are still not the easiest band to get into, captivating and fun as they may be. They also incorporate crunchy guitars mixed with almost pop-ish melodies, unconventional song arrangement, and clever lyrics crazy drum lines.

Over the short decade of their existence this band would release four records, with the final one, A People’s History of the Dismemberment Plan, a compilation record that included remixes from fans and was released the year they disbanded in 2003. Besides the fact that most everyone loves a reunion tour, the band is also touring in promotions of the vinyl release of their most critically-acclaimed (and my favorite) 1999 album Emergency & I. The LP is a musical gem that both comprehensive as an album and made up of well-composed and complex yet catchy songs.  I highly suggest picking this album up in whatever form you like to listen to music – and checking out this band at the Metro later this month at the Metro.

Opening for The Dismemberment Plan are Kid You’ll Move Mountains and Maritime and the Forms, playing the February 19th and 20th shows, respectively. The Metro should prove to be an effectively small venue for a band that has such a loyal following and performs so loudly yet intimately. Their sound quality at Webster Hall in New York, where I saw them at the end of January left the band sounding as clean and crispy as they do on their records, even years after they were released. Since the Chicago show is still about a week away, I don’t want to give away too many details about what could be in store, lest it ruin the surprise. I will say however that I hope that stage is big enough to hold dancing fans and that the audience should be prepared for cheesy band jokes and some interesting covers in the encore.

If you have never heard this band, here is a good song to start off with: