The Dillinger Escape Plan / Read Yellow / The End / Trivium Lee's Palace, Toronto ON - February 1

Considering Dillinger's past few trips to Toronto packed the Opera House, Lee's Palace seemed like an unusually claustrophobic venue for a band whose notoriety has not only transcended the confines of underground metal but popularised heavy music in general. The night began with Trivium, Roadrunner's trend-mongering answer to metalcore. The crowd stood at the back and in the corners, reacting unenthusiastically to a distasteful blend of singing, screaming, breakdowns and astonishingly gawky solos. Vocalist/guitarist Matt Heafy's attempts to entice the audience were greeted welcomingly by exactly two fans. Fortunately, to ease the crowd's malaise, the End followed with a short but ferocious set. Mechanistically and menacingly, they provoked a dedicated fan base into a frenzy, unleashing a precise combination of power, intelligence and heavy-fucking-metal. Read Yellow's tactless feedback antics and Sonic Youth punk were an unanticipated downer. Each song trailed much like the last, ending in a noisy freak out that was exhausted after its first run. Dillinger took the stage to a sweaty and anxious sardine can. Pummelling through a greatest hits set, the crowd reacted with gusto rarely seen in Toronto. Their brand of seemingly whimsical riffage and calculated maelstrom mosh stirred the crowd's inner demons. The "stage diving Olympics" accompanied their performance as the sideshow, with a T-shirt going to the kid who smashed the most people in the face during his descent. Dillinger's stage presence has become a big part of their appeal for a very good reason. Every band member moved in an epileptic rage, guitar chopping, spitting and posing like bona-fide rock stars, hypnotising everyone in attendance. Though they've played tighter sets, you can bet Dillinger won't be visiting such a tiny venue again any time soon.