This applies to 12/29/2000

This is written some days later from the 29th as the morning after the show, I was far too tired to think clearly enough to write anything. The night culminated in a late night car ride, thankfully snowless back to PA, returning to Carlisle at something like 5:30 AM. When I was hanging out with Patrick a few weeks ago, Andy came in and invited me to an upcoming Dismemberment Plan show. Andy was the kid who invited me to the first Plan show I ever went to, two summers ago in DC at Ft. Reno. At the time, I was completely unfamiliar with the band, but after seeing their excellent live show, they quickly became one of my favorite bands. So, I was quick to sign on to the offer to go see the Plan as well as the rocking band Les Savy Fav. Then when checking the Plan’s website, I was pleasantly surprised to find that there was another opening band, Boston’s Cave In. As Travis from the Plan said at the show, it was a “crazy line up”. It is interesting to note that the Plan was playing the next night as well, this time with Enon and The Slackers. Another crazy bill. Thinking back, the best shows I have been to are the ones with the bizarre lineups, all bands providing a unique and different sound to move the kids.

We drove up early and hung out at the house of one of Andy’s friends before we hit the Tasty Diner in Silver Spring for some quick eats. I’m a big diner fan, and the Tasty has the cool old-school metal stylings that get marked up as an added bonus in my book. After that we went to the club and waited in line to get into the show. We met some of Andy’s friends at the show. I didn’t know anybody, but it was still fun to go to a show with a big posse of kids (something that, to my dismay, I never get to do at school). From the bantering, to the inside jokes, to the games of slapjack in the bitter cold, it was a refreshing experience.

Cave In played first, and I was blown away. They sounded like a completely different band from the two times that I had seen them last spring. Though still having an unconventional style, they had twice the vocals as last time and a somewhat less metal and more “rock” sound. It was fun watching them and seeing their musical transition firsthand. Though their prior sound was interesting, I like their new stuff somewhat better. I think it’s really a bold step musically as the hardcore kids which have been one of their staple audiences can be a bit intolerant of change.

Les Savy Fav played next. I saw them before when they toured with the Plan, and just like the first time, I was blown away. They play an interesting brand of post-punk rock and roll, which I can’t really describe very well. They sound good on the album, and they sound good live, but they are almost overshadowed musically by their stage performance. Their lead singer, in particular, is a maniac on stage. On this night, he stomped out in winter coat, mittens, and these insane teched out sneakers with like 5 inch soles. He shed the coat revealing this amazing t-shirt that said “Dance”. Their set was crazy and fun.

Standing next to Andy, it’s hard to call the Plan “my” band as he’s seen them something close to 20 times, but even from my short history going to Plan shows, it’s clear that they’re getting pretty popular. The show was more crowded than any Plan show I had been too, and it was very very disconcerting to hear statements like “I really want to see fucking Coal Chamber”, and “Remember the Snapcase pit at the Warped Tour, It fucking ruled!” (Remember, that’s not even “Snapcase ruled.” The “pit” “ruled”.) I guess it’s a double edged sword. I think its great that kids are listening to better music, but when they start jumping around like they were in the mosh pit at a bad butt metal show, one hopes that they learn a thing or two lest things go downhill quickly. Still, there were clearly a lot of devoted Plan fans at the show, and in my oppinion, the band did not disappoint. The reason I like the Plan so much, and the reason I like them live, especially, is that it always seems as though they are having a great time. Andy mentioned to me that they have largely been playing material off their last full length for the past couple of years, but from the shows I’ve seen, they seem to keep these great songs fresh and alive. I can’t do a very good job of describing the Plan’s music, but it transcends genre’s and labels. It is musically interesting and they do a great deal with different rhythms and time changes, but at the same time they have a very tight sense of melody, catchy, intelligent lyrics, and a great number of sing along choruses. Its weird going to a Plan show because they are one of the few bands that get the crowd genuinely dancing. That’s dancing without and prefix like slam or hardcore. It’s really bizarre at first, but eventually one can’t help but get into the groove. I had a great time at the show, and it left me exhausted for the car ride back to Carlisle.

We drove back, talking about music. Andy is pretty passionate about music and it’s always fun to hang out with him becuase he is always pushing the new bands that he’s heard and really enjoys. We talked about music and he played me a band called Don Caballero which is really, really good. We also talked about the central PA music scene, the bands we played in during high school and the difficulties of starting new bands before I conked out somewhere on rt. 15.