Concert Review: The Dismemberment Plan


Saturday, November 2, 2013 at Paradise Rock Club in Boston

Opening act: Yellow Ostrich

Headline act: The Dismemberment Plan

On a rare night out for an aging dad, I took in the concert performance of indie/post-punk band (with a healthy dose of R&B and funk) from Washington, D.C., The Dismemberment Plan.  They’re touring to support their first album in a dozen years Uncanney Valley which comes after a long separation of the band.  I was acquainted with the lead vocalist Travis Morrison when we both were in college.*  I say this not to brag of my brush with celebrity, but because without this small connection I would not have heard of The Dismemberment Plan and my life would be less rich as the result.  The remainder of the quartet is Eric Axelson (bass), Jason Caddell (guitar), and Joe Easley (drums).

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The Dismemberment Plan had a friendly, knowledgeable audience for their Boston show.  Early on, Morrison bantered that they’d always gotten a good reception going all the way back to their first show in 1847 when the only person in the audience was Herman Melville.  The literary joke got a good response from the audience, and seemed appropriate given that The Dismemberment Plan are a literary band.  Their lyrics often tell a story and the music emphasizes the natural rhythm of the spoken word.  A good example is the crowd pleaser “You Are Invited,” a song about a magical invitation in which the words of the invitation are sung as the chorus, at first gently but later in a rave-up leading to a guitar solo.  It was a great experience to see and hear the dynamics of this song live.

The band were tight in their performance and it was clear that Morrison was enjoying himself as he smiled throughout the concert.  The band continued their good relations with the crowd, inviting a couple of men onstage to model their t-shirts as a lead-in to “The Dismemberment Plan Get Rich.”  In the encore, audience members were invited to dance onstage during “The Ice of Boston” (a Dismemberment Plan tradition).  I had the opportunity to access the stage myself, but having performed onstage in Boston elsewhere I left the space open for someone else.  Morrison forced one particularly obnoxious fan to stay on stage and dance for the finale.

This was an intense concert and if you have a chance to see The Dismemberment Plan live, take it.

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Set list:

  • Living In Song
  • Gyroscope
  • Ellen and Ben
  • Mexico City Christmas
  • You Are Invited
  • Girl O’Clock
  • No One’s Saying Nothing
  • The City
  • Time Bomb
  • Invisible
  • The Dismemberment Plan Gets Rich
  • Spider in the Snow
  • Go and Get It
  • Do the Standing Still
  • What Do You Want Me to Say?

Encore:

  • Daddy Was A Real Good Dancer
  • The Face of the Earth
  • The Ice of Boston
  • OK, Joke’s Over (w/ a brief interpolation of Lorde’s “Royals”)

Travis & I were both DJ’s at the college radio station WCWM.  One semester he was the host of the popular Quiz Kid game show that lead into my world music show.  He said he liked my show, which made me feel good since he was cool and I was not.  OK, now I’m bragging.

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