The Dismemberment Plan + Telekinesis @ Fonda Theatre, LA 12/12/13
When finally given the chance to see a show of a recently reunited, life-long musical obsession, we tend to anticipate hearing all those favorite songs of ours, sounding just like on record – or better. We set ourselves up for a perfect setlist, spiked with the band’s biggest hits and a handful of obscure personal favorites; we expect the kind of energy witnessed only in grainy YouTube videos of the group’s legendary shows, and can’t wait to see the guys and gals in flesh and blood, looking youthful and cool as ever. And, as much as ninety percent of the time, reality is quick to burst the bubble. But in the case of The Dismemberment Plan at the Fonda Theatre, all these hopes came true.
But before The Plan were able to prove their relevance and skill that night, Seattle’s Telekinesis did a pro at job warming up the audience with their high-energy, low-pretension indie rock and stand up comedy-worth stage banter. “Do you guys have any questions?” might be the most (positively) awkward thing ever spoken from the stage, and it was only one of the quirky lines singing drummer Michael Benjamin Lerner had up his sleeve. When it comes to direct contact with the audience, the Dismemberment Plan had a tough act to follow.
But musically they managed, by all means. Though touring in support of their comeback album Uncanney Valley, the band knew well what most of their fans came for, basing their set around songs from the classic albums Emergency & I and Change. Combining indie rock with irregular, jazz and funk-influenced rhythms, these songs are pretty idiosyncratic to begin with, but their live renditions were spotless; I was especially impressed with the tight bridge section of “The City” and the slick live version of crowd favorite “Ellen and Ben.” The excellent PA at the Fonda definitely contributed to the final verve and polish.
The band members were at it, too. Bassist Eric Axelson could easily win the prize for the friendliest-looking musician in the business. His bass lines that night were fast, complex and angular, and perfectly in sync with expert drummer Joe Easley. Singer Travis Morrison was full of his trademark goofball energy, slamming the synthesizer during the hip-hop-like verses of “Girl O’Clock” and turning an early Plan song, “OK, Joke’s Over,” into an impromtu Lorde cover. It was the final night of the band’s lengthy US tour, and one thing was made certain: ten years after the original dissolution of the band, there’s little more you could ever hope for from a Dismemberment Plan show.
If you weren’t at the first Dismemberment Plan show in LA in ten years, our only question for you is “why not!?” If you didn’t make it, check out more photos HERE!