When I first heard that 90s D.C. band The Dismemberment Plan was doing the whole reunion thing, I was briefly excited—there was a period of a year or so when I was pretty into them. For whatever reason, though, the only record of theirs I ever really gave much of a shit about was their last one, Change, which I guess is not considered their best. That honor goes instead to Emergency & I, which was just reissued and given a hysterical perfect score of 10. I don’t know the album all that well, but I’ve gathered that a select group of people have a very intense connection to it. After watching this performance of the much-adored track “The City” on Fallon last night, it seems even more unlikely than before that I will ever share that connection.
I never got a chance to see the band live, which suddenly seems very important, and I’ve never even watched videos of them on YouTube, come to think of it, so I was a bit taken aback by, I’m sorry, the sheer dorkiness of the whole thing. As I started listening to their records a bit more over the past few weeks and months, I started to backtrack on initial feeling that they’d aged well, as I started to notice this really irritating, really embarrassing Dave Matthews thing happening that I’d somehow missed all those years ago. It is, sadly, even more prevalent in a live setting—the wide-eyedness of it all, the dancing, the smiling. It’s just… it’s a lot. Maybe this was common knowledge all along, and people just loved them for it, but I find myself desperately wanting to look away.