A beautiful death for Dismemberment Plan

Sept. 3, 2003, midnight | By Branden Buehler, Josh Gottlieb-Miller | 20 years, 3 months ago

"We're Dismemberment Plan from Washington, DC," said Travis Morrison, frontman of the Dismemberment Plan, with a smug smile on his face shortly after Dismemberment Plan began their set on Monday night at the 9:30 club. Morrison was well aware that everyone in the club knew exactly who he was and where his band hailed from.

Since Dismemberment Plan's formation over 10 years ago, they have become one of the most popular bands in independent music, winning acclaim for their records that contained a diverse and wide range of sounds. Some songs were driven by raucous guitar work, and others featured mellow funk-laden basslines. Almost all of their songs contained uncommonly clever lyrics. They became centerpieces of the DC music scene as word of their precise and energetic shows spread. Thus, when they took the stage Monday for their final show before breaking up, the club was filled to the brim.

Naturally, Dismemberment Plan's return played like a low-key, light-hearted affair. Morrison maintained a running commentary with the audience, mostly an adoring and almost reverential crowd who laughed at all his jokes and sang along with a good number of fan-favorites, which were not in short supply, as the Dismemberment Plan played songs from all stages of their career.

Besides the music, the Dismemberment Plan displayed a friendship and openness with the crowd that many bands are unable to present. They played a laid-back set, with highlights ranging from the always rocking "What do you want me to say?" to the rough "Time Bomb." Talented front man Morrison is remarkable not only for his oddly memorable voice, but also his tendency to cooly dance along to the music. This is a common occurrence due to their excellent rhythms, capable of making even the most uncoordinated fans twitch their hips approvingly (if poorly).

The rest of the Dismemberment Plan more than kept up with the propulsive Morrison, an especially hard feat due to jetlag that resulted from the band arriving from Japan the day before. Drummer Joe Easley provided a steady and malleable backbone to the diverse songs, and bassist Eric Axelson infused the show with energy as he roamed the stage intensely playing his bass. Axelson also brought his energy to the synthesizer, an instrument that every member of the band except Easley took turns playing. Guitarist Jason Caddell handled both keyboard and guitar duties well.

As the show progressed Morrison proved his indie and hometown credentials, mentioning Faustian bargains, name-dropping Pavement, and humorously asking, "How many people came from out of town? Not Gaithersburg."

A number of audience members even made it onto the stage for "The Ice of Boston" (a Dismemberment Plan tradition) and Morrison was seen talking with many of the people on their way off the stage afterwards. Soon after, Morrison began dedicating songs to figures in the local DC scene.

Despite the special occasion, the Dismemberment Plan ended their regular setlist with "OK, Joke's Over," a song that they've ended most of their shows with in recent times. Even though tiredness from the jetlag was beginning to show, the band managed to come back on stage and end the show with an encore that featured a song from each of their four albums, ensuring they would end their career in a fashion that encapsulated their entire career.

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Branden Buehler. Branden Buehler is a senior in the magnet program. When he is not doing schoolwork, work for Silver Chips Online, or swimming for the Blair swim team, he could possibly be found playing foosball or playing his guitar and recording songs in a futile attempt … More »

Josh Gottlieb-Miller. More »

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