Sacramento’s Dance Gavin Dance are definitely a band who’ve had their fair share of bad luck and ugly partings with previous members and line-up changes. Now, with their third clean vocalist throughout their career in the form of ex-Tides Of Man frontman Tilian Pearson, the band have a new full-length of the way and set on a full UK tour before putting the final touches to it and putting it out later this year.
Tour openers Violet (****) are the only Brits on the touring bill, and are ones who are often compared to Dance Gavin Dance. At first glance it’s easy to see why; they have the dual vocalist approach, one tackling cleans and the other screams, and musically they have a lot of similarities too. However, with focussed digestion, they’re easy to tell apart. The R&B almost Michael Jackson-esque cleans from Jordan Samuel and the gruff barks from Charlie Bass marry one another brillantly, and the look into newer offerings such ‘Dreamcatcher’ shows a promising future as soon as they drop their debut album.
Following up, Affiance (**) are easily the band who are the most out of place on this tour line-up. Mid-set, the band themselves describe their sound as “dragon metal”. If that’s the case, this dragon needs to be slayed, right away. In actuality, Affiance sound much like a far more dumbed down and incompetent version of Protest The Hero, and their cover of Europe‘s ‘Final Countdown’, despite encourging some sing-a-longs, is simply awful. It’s also confusing as to the amount seriously overly self-deprecating yet rather big-headed comments from frontman Dennis Tvrdik or why Dominic Dickinson insists on going centre stage whenever a guitar solo comes in.
Thankfully though, Closure In Moscow (****) bring us back up from the preceeding insult to the ears and sense of hearing. The band’s dress sense for their set is indeed questionable, most members wearing old Victorian-like suits and smartwear, whereas frontman Christopher de Cinque has opted for what looks like a pink karate outfit, therefore making him look like a pink Jesus. His in-between song banter is both intellectual and obscure, much like the band’s music. Newer offerings like ‘Pink Lemonade’ are much of the same brilliance of their older work, and staple favourites like ‘Kissing Cousins’ go down an absolute treat.
Kicking their set off with ‘Tree Village’, it’s been a good few years since we’ve heard any non-‘Downtown Battle Mountain’ or ‘Downtown Battle Mountain II’ songs live from Dance Gavin Dance (*****), and it’s a refreshing change. Latest clean vocalist recruit Tilian Pearson manages to fit his voice into both the Jonny Craig and Kurt Travis eras of the band relatively well whilst still maintaining his own identity with them. Jon Mess‘ screams sound stronger than before, and the one-two screams alongside Will Swan work great.
‘Carl Barker’ and ‘Rock Solid’ get the crowd singing, and new album sneak peeks ‘Jesus H. Macy’ and ‘The Robot With Human Hair Pt. 4’ show evidence that DGD still definitely have it. However, it goes without saying that encore and set closer ‘Lemon Meringue Tie’ is the most stick out moment of the set, and leaves with the confidence that come album number five later this year, we’re going to be seeing a lot more of these guys again.
Written by Zach Redrup