Mike Dillon isn’t here to make things easy for you or himself or the world, and last night – February 12th – he showed the awestruck crowd at Lexington’s Cosmic Charlie’s, sitting in the shadows of the University Of Kentucky. Dillon has, for decades, been living proof of the fact that life isn’t always meant to be analyzed and quantified, it is to be LIVED! His music oscillates between expansively beautiful melodies and terrifying staccato insanity in the blink of an eye. He and his band slap you in the face before caressing you musically, then they push you off a mile high cliff with a cacophonous soundtrack to accompany your descent.While the music he makes may be proving the point that life is made up of seemingly contradictory concepts, it isn’t part of some musical master plan on his part. Dillon’s life has been a twisted tale of addiction and freedom. He has taken two steps forward, into a back flip before being shot out of a cannon into an uncertain future with no regard to the safety of a net or even an actual target. Though most performers would find such a method for executing a stage show daunting, embracing the unknown at a thousand miles an hour is seemingly Dillon’s cruising speed.There was no set list for the tour closing show. There was no plan. Dillon’s backing band of simply followed their maestros lead with all the intensity and versatility any musician could muster. That level of trust, forged on the recent barnstorming run across the country, allowed Dillon to do what he does best… preach the gospel of punk rock mentality in a world filled a highly disturbing reality. Even his love songs had a bit of the macabre in their lyrical message, as in the following clip, “Cremate Me.”A typical Mike Dillon show contains many elements that each contribute to the shocking of the senses required to rewire the mind to seeing the world in a more honestly perceptive manner. Dillon hit all the big points like a whirling dervish as he managed to astound with his percussive skills across a wide variety of drums, xylophones and toys. He bounded from the stage and confronted the fans directly. He even made sure to give time to the incredible players he has assembled to help in spreading the word to the masses. In the fourteen plus minute clip that follows he manages to hit for the cycle, even working in a special address to the camera and the viewers at home for good measure! Check out the anarchy below:Now, before the next media embed, I just wanted to note that filming Mike Dillon is like trying to play basketball in a tornado. No matter how many times you have practiced the shot, if the goal post is ripped out of the ground and goes whipping around in the sky, it is a lot harder to get it in the hoop. And if that goal post then decides to grab the ball and run around the field with it while cackling like a madman… well… you just have to accept that you may not get to play any more. That said, the story he tells about seeing the Grateful Dead and the effect it had on his life was too poignant and funny to not share, so there is an audio only YouTube clip of the entire tale below. Enjoy!The experience seems to have had a lasting effect on the now long time sober Dillon. In a career that has seen him evolve from punk rock firebrand to alternative darling to most favored percussionist to any band or artist that needs a heaping dollop of mayhem like his friend Les Claypool and Primus one thing has remained a constant…his complete lack of filter. While now clearly able to channel and direct the mad energy that crackles just below his smiling surface, Mike Dillon is at his most pure when he is letting the mischievous demons and angels inside him run wild and free.In his often completely free-style lyrics he referenced the “Cheeto-In-Chief” and the mood of the country as often as he described lurid sex acts and told tales of meeting former students of his mother, a retired school teacher. It is probably of interest to note that the last two examples both occur in the same song, “Your Mother Was My Teacher.” The rest of the show was simply more of the same insanity designed to expand the mind and musical horizons of everyone within earshot.Dillon ended the show on a rant of a different nature. He called on folks to shower love on our new president, to a chorus of boos and cat calls. He chided the derisive audience, reminding them that Trump’s actions clearly show him to be a profoundly unhappy man, with the world at his fingertips but still unable to enjoy it. The thrust of his argument rang as true now as it always has…”Only LOVE can Trump hate.” Over and over he repeated those words, growing more and more animate as he went, with the band matching his verbal intensity with their playing. Then, with a final cymbal crash it was done.Always exuberant, the energetic Dillon hurdled the on-stage monitors and manned his merchandise table, apparently selling nearly every shirt and CD he had with him to the freshly converted among the crowd. Shaking every hand, signing every disc and shirt sold and posing for pictures his friendly off stage persona seemed to surprise some of the virgin fans. Though unexpectedly approachable, his demeanor cemented the message he had been trying to convey bout the power of being true to yourself in their minds perfectly. We can only hope the seeds of hope and love he planted sprout among the shell-shocked fans who wandered into the night, searching for the words to describe the wonders they had witnessed.