The tour bus came to a stop on a residential block in New Brunswick, New Jersey, easily three times as long as any of the houses were wide. This obviously wasn’t going to be your standard basement show, although no show is quite standard when metal chaoticians Dillinger Escape Plan — possibly the most unhinged band in America — are involved. The previous night in a small room at New York’s Webster Hall, the band smashed its gear, was jumped by fans onstage, and swung from lighting rigs over the audience’s heads. Now transfer that image to a room just a little larger than a two-car garage that isn’t tall enough to do jumping jacks in.
The address was kept secret until the day of the show, and the band only posted the location its MySpace page for roughly 10 minutes before Dan (who would rather not give his last name), who lives in the house, panicked and called the band to have it removed. Dan holds shows in his basement every other week, but called Sunday “the most stressful night ever. But when one of my favorite bands wants to do a show in my house, I can’t say no.”
And so 17 years after Anthrax played the Bundys’ house on Marriedâ€¦ With Children, Dillinger took the stage — really just a corner — and tore into hyper-aggressive songs like “The Mullet Burden,” “Panasonic Youth” and “Fix Your Face.” The staggeringly cramped basement somehow made space for multiple mosh pits to open up, and holes were spontaneously punched in the ceiling, which unfortunately did nothing to fix the suffocating ventilation issues. The 100-plus strong crowd thrashed without any concern for its confines, even though it seemed as if a body hurtling through one of the ceiling supports could being the entire place down.
By the time the band ended with a cover of Nine Inch Nails’ “Wish,” the more fearful or exhausted had escaped up the stairs, and Dan was finally able to breathe easy: no cops, no major injuries, and no substantial damage was reported. He had put together a night that would live on among the fans in rumor, but he wasn’t in a rush to do it again any time soon.