Saturday night, I went to the Meow Meow here in Portland, Oregon and I saw The Plot To Blow Up The Eiffel Tower in concert. They were playing with Upsilon Acrux, The Ex Models and The Locust. They weren’t the headliner, but they were the band I most wanted to see play. I only have a passing knowledge of their music, to be honest, and am currently awaiting the arrival of their newest album, Love in the Fascist Brothel, to become more acquainted with their sound. But what I can tell you is that they’re an indie mix of hardcore, screamo and punk whose sound is often referred to as jazz-punk, and for good reason. Let me set the mood here.
I arrived shortly before Upsilon Acrux started off the night’s music. I’ve been to the Meow Meow once before, when I came by to check out a friend’s band, The Rhythm of 84. The crowd that night was almost identical – a sort of teenage emo type gathering, with a lot of tight T shirt and hoodies, swooping hair and slim bodies. After Upsilon Acrux came on and did their set – and they were quite good – The Plot was up next. They set up quickly and then threw themselves into the first number, all raging guitars and pounding drums and screaming vocals. But here’s the thing if you’re new to The Plot. Just when you think you might have them figured out, the lead singer breaks out a saxophone.
In that venue, with that crowd, it is an immensely odd and compelling sight and sound.
Even on the songs that don’t use the saxophone, The Plot is a great band, but the saxophone takes it to an entirely different level. It’s a real departure from what you typically see in this music scene and it lends a great originality to the music. Plus, it just sounds great. They work it in beautifully, layering it over the drum and guitar work and then pulling it back to jump into the vocals. It gives the music an almost classy edge, as well as a unique sort of energy that works great in the setting of a concert.
As a live band, The Plot put on an excellent show. They came out in similar uniforms, each of them sporting a Nazi-style armband with their own logo on it rather than the Nazi symbol. It kept, of course, with the name of their new album. As they jumped into their approximately 20-minute set, it was clear that they had come with a great deal of energy and enthusiasm. The lead singer screamed into the microphone, manhandled the stand and jumped around the stage. He veritably molested the microphone at times, throwing himself into the performance completely. The rest of the band members were more stationary, focusing on playing their instruments and occasionally singing backup, while doing a great job of keeping the music moving right along.
The songs never slowed down and the band not only stayed energized, but grew more enthusiastic as the set went on. The last two songs were the highlight of the performance, featuring a good deal of saxophone, heavy guitar work and layered vocals. They sounded great, loud and chaotic yet always in control of just how they wanted to present themselves. In fact, chaotic and hectic is a good way to describe The Plot’s music.
On stage, they seemed crazed and completely taken over by the music. Yet, at the same time, I had the distinct feeling that it was all very deliberate and they performed in a very confident manner. They knew what they were doing and exactly how they wanted to act, and part of that was an all-out assault on the audience, both in terms of the music and the theatrics. Throughout the set, the lead singer was swinging around the microphone stand, licking the microphone, wrapping the cord around his neck, flinging himself back and forth on the stage and spitting water into the air. It was a show, to be sure, and it was entertaining both as a theatrical performance and as some great hardcore punk music with – let’s not forget – some jazz thrown in for good measure.
My feelings were mixed on The Ex Models and The Locust. I thought The Ex Models were okay at best, largely pretentious and tedious. The Locust was solid, though, both in terms of the music and their strange and energetic performance. The highlight for me, though, was easily The Plot To Blow Up The Eiffel Tower. Even divorced of the other bands, they were worth the price of admission. I can’t wait to get my hands on their new album so I can immerse myself more in their chaotic, energetic, compelling mixture of punk, hardcore and jazz. I definitely recommend catching them live.
The remaining tour dates for The Plot To Blow Up The Eiffel Tower:
February/ West coast w/ The Locust, Ex-Models, and Upsilon Acrux
Feb. 22 Santa Cruz, CA @ The Jupiter w/ The Locust
Feb. 23 San Luis Obispo, CA @ The Dwelling w/ The Locust
March/ SXSW dates w/ Some Girls, Year Future, 400 Blows – More TBA
Mar. 10 Los Angeles, CA @ The Knitting Factory w/ Some Girls, Year Future, 400 Blows
Mar. 11 San Deigo, CA @ The Che Cafe w/ Some Girls, Year Future, 400 Blows
Mar. 12 Phoenix, AZ @ Phix Gallery w/ Some Girls, Year Future, 400 Blows
Mar. 14 Odessa, TX @ Earl’s II w/ Some Girls, Year Future, 400 Blows
April/ Europe & UK – More TBA
April 7 Amsterdam (NL) @ Winston
April 8 Hamburg (GER)
April 9 Berlin (GER) @ Kastanie
April 10 Cologne (GER)
April 11 Munich (GER) @ Kafe Kult
April 12 Off
April 13 Strasbourg (F) @ Modoloi
April 14 Bordeaux (F)
April 15 Madrid (ESP)
April 16 La Roca Del Valles (ESP) @ La Roca
April 17 Lyon (F)
April 18 Off
April 19 Dornbirn (A) @ Café Schlachthaus
April 20 Stuttgart (GER) @ HI
April 21 Wien (A) @ Arena
April 22 Würzburg (GER) @ Café Cairo
April 23 Trier (GER) @ Ex-Haus @ Krak-Fest
April 24 Off
April 25 UK
April 26 London (UK) @ Infinity Club
April 27 UK
April 28 UK
April 29 UK
April 30 IRE
May 1 Off
May 2 IRE
May 3 UK
May 4 UK
May 5 UK
May 6 London (UK) @ Underworld
May 7 Belvaux (LUX) @ 911