The Dismemberment Plan played a gig at the late Mezze in the winter of 1999. And then the place burned down. A causal connection has yet to be established between the two events – Scott Wolf from “Party of Five” remains the prime arson suspect. However, anyone who was at the show can tell you that the band was hot enough to incinerate any “bistro” that could claim to contain them. During the frenetic set, the Plan auditioned material from their then-unreleased album “Emergency & I,” which ended up near the top of many critics’ top ten lists that year, while generally laying waste to all eardrums in the vicinity. And now, with another lauded album (“Change”) under their belt, The Dismemberment Plan is coming back to Williamstown.
Like most rock these days, The Dismemberment Plan’s music is all about alienation and despair; however, unlike their overwrought, over-Staind peers, the Plan are also all about getting bottoms in gear. “Change” emphasizes the funk undercurrent that had been running through previous albums, leaning heavily on Joe Easley’s phenomenal, razor-sharp drumming and Eric Axelson’s stuttering bass. On top of what might be the best rhythm section in independent rock, the Plan’s sound keeps expanding, incorporating post-punk workouts, ethereal keyboards, drum ’n bass, fragmentary hip-hop and video game sound effects into the milieu. While listening to The Dismemberment Plan gives the listener the overall impression of being desperately lonely in the middle of a dance floor, their live show is a much less melancholy affair. Frontman Travis Morrison is an absolutely magnetic performer, delivering every line with a manic grin, and the band’s cover of Destiny’s Child top 40 topper “Bootylicious” is, oddly enough, internationally renowned.
The Dismemberment Plan will be headlining WCFM’s Spring Musicfest (sponsored by Security, College Council and the Deans) this Saturday, after an afternoon of performances by student groups. The event is free and open to the public and will be held in Greylock Swamp (or Goodrich Hall, in case of rain). Bring your galoshes.