ALBUM REVIEW: Dance Gavin Dance – Tree City Sessions 2

Release Date: December 25th 2020
Label: Rise Records


Starting the year with the release of ‘Afterburner’, Dance Gavin Dance have opted to close it with a new live album, ‘Tree City Sessions 2’.

Whilst many fans have requested for a companion to the first release in 2016, the quintet have not only allowed fans to choose the setlist, but they’ve also opted to record the setlist via a live stream concert from Sacramento’s Tower Bridge.

Armed with stunning visuals, clear production and a deep set list, Dance Gavin Dance attack their back-catalogue with a reckless abandon. Kicking off with ‘The Backwards Pumpkin Song’ from their 2007 debut, Tilian Pearson adopts the song as his own, seamlessly moving into ‘Uneasy Hearts Weigh The Most’ and ‘NASA’ in the blink of an eye.

With ‘Uneasy Hearts Weigh The Most’, the inclusion of a stunning three part vocal harmony between Pearson, Jon Mess, and touring guitarist Andrew Wells (also of Eidola) adds a new edge to a fan favourite. Throughout the setlist, Wells, a seasoned touring member with the group, accents guitarist Will Swan‘s eclectic playing style as well, giving the likes of ‘Man Of The Year’ a slightly different twist.

Whilst the nuances that pepper each song may only go noticed by their existing fanbase, ‘Tree City Sessions 2’ does provide a strong entry point for newcomers, with earlier tracks such as ‘NASA’ sharing a runtime with later tracks such as ‘Son Of A Robot’ and ‘Strawberry’s Wake’.

Closing the set and the album with ‘Nothing Shameful’, Dance Gavin Dance end with a raucous coda, one that serves as a reminder of how solid the group are as a live act. A companion piece to a memorable live stream, ‘Tree City Sessions 2’ stands on its own as a live record that translates the energy displayed.