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The Dismemberment Plan @ Union Transfer.

November 5, 2013

DPLAN_001Text and images by Rick Kauffman.

It’s been more than 20 years since The Dismemberment Plan formed in Washington D.C. and nearly a decade since they first broke up. After their mid-October release of Uncanney Valley, the D-Plan have embarked on their first tour in support of new jams since 2001.

Union Transfer welcomed the D.C. art-punk stalwarts back to Philadelphia on Sunday night, their first show in the city since their post-reformation performance at the Roots Picnic, six months after playing during the blizzard of 2011 at the Starlight Ballroom.

Despite the years that have passed with and without their presence, the band returned to form to a nostalgic crowd anxious to hear jams of new and old.

Starting with the delightfully funky final track off of Uncanney Valley, titled “Let’s Just Go To the Dogs Tonight,” singer/guitarists Travis Morrison invited the crowd to join in song, “When I say cluster, you say fuck.”



And while the show was in much a sampling of new tracks, favorably “Waiting,” “Mexico City Christmas” and “Invisible,” more so, it was a concert to celebrate all the hits.

Girl O’Clock” a most-insane stuttering and absolutely bonkers track about sexual frustration, a longtime favorite of most and the telltale track of just how crazy the D-Plan can get, capped off with the line: “If I don’t have a n-n-n-n-nervous b-b-b-breakdown by the end of the week, I’m going to be very, very surprised.”

Speaking of nervous breakdowns, guitarist Jason Caddell was hindered by technical problems throughout the show. Prior to the bands final song, Morrison looked over to Caddell asked jokingly, “Are you ready?”

Then, again, as if pre-ordained, his guitar continued to cut out while bassist Eric Alexson laughed from state-right and drummer Joe Easley looked on with concern.

But, using the time prior to the encore productively, the ship was righted and the band returned triumphantly for the finale. During “The Ice of Boston,” a track from their 1997 album The Dismemberment Plan is Terrified, the band invited 30-plus on stage to join in chant: “Hey! The ice of Boston is muddy and reflects no light in day or night and I slip on it every time!”

It was in that moment that the thrill of late-90s underground music came roaring back through the volition of one’s freedom to speak, act and be heard. By virtue of the volume of those people involved by the sound of their voices, it was a hearkening back to an era gone but not forgotten.

Also on the bill was Yellow Ostrich from Brooklyn, who joined the D-Plan in Boston and Philly. Next up, D-Plan will venture down to Atlanta, then over to Austin for the Fun Fun Fun Fest, followed by a flight over to the UK for a short tour, back to the West Coast for a gig in Seattle and finally ending in Los Angeles on Dec. 12.

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