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Coachella 2010: Dillinger Escape Plan makes anger warm and fuzzy

April 16, 2010 | 10:38 pm

Dillinger When Dillinger Escape Plan concluded its epically rock 'n' raw set at Coachella early Friday evening, bassist Liam Wilson thrust the neck of his guitar repeatedly through Billy Rymer's kick-drum cover. The two shirtless bros in front of me whistled and sucked hard on a hand-rolled cigarette that smelled of herb. "Dill-en-ger! Dill-en-ger! Dill-en-ger!" they yelled in unison with the rest of the throbbing crowd.

But as much as the band may have wanted to come back for an encore, they couldn't. Their gear was broken. A Marshall stack lay on its face beside the injured drum, and discarded guitars hummed with fuzzed-out feedback. The fact that it wasn't a situation easily remedied (no hardcore band worth its salt would suddenly re-emerge onstage with shiny new backup gear) made it all the more appealing to the legions of DEP fans.

They had come to witness the rock and DEP had delivered. In an emaciated age of Aderol and ProTools, when entire mainstream albums can be -- and are -- made on computers, the roughed-up angst and jagged edges of a band such as DEP felt downright retro.

As did the mosh pit that broke out when hyper-ripped singer Greg Puciato said: "We're gonna spray some poseur repellent, so anyone that is going to be affected should just leave the tent right now."

From the looks of the frantic dirt dance that broke out immediately thereafter, the non-poseurs were many, and maybe a bit insecure about being mistaken for poseurs, which is why they started moshing like it was 1997.

The interesting thing about the outbreak was that the turn-of-the-century anger that DEP represents had somehow morphed over the last decade into something soft and fuzzy. Not that it wasn't real, or that their performance wasn't wholly earnest in its sense of epic discontent. Just that those feelings themselves called out to another era -- one in which relief was found in the idea of anarchy.

As the sun began to set Puciato said: "There are some of you in here that I love. I mean some of you in the front that I might actually have feelings for." 

At that moment a boy with peeling skin on his soft, sunburned back stepped in front of me. His hair was blond and shorn military-short. For a moment his set jaw made me think that he was angry with the world, but then his head began to bob and when he turned around to look at the writhing mass of fans behind him, I could see that he was smiling.

-- Jessica Gelt

Photo: Musicians Greg Puciato and Ben Weinman of the band the Dillinger Escape Plan perform Friday. Credit: Anna Webber / Getty Images