LIVE: Dance Gavin Dance @ Sound Control, Manchester (10/11/2016)

Date: November 10th 2016
Venue: Sound Control, Manchester
Support: Kurt Travis / Jonny Craig / Good Tiger


Not many bands have had a past as turbulent as Dance Gavin Dance. Until their past two records, ‘Mothership’ and ‘Instant Gratification’, there’d be at least one member change after every album. Literally every album. Prevailing for a decade, the band are over in the UK in Europe to celebrate the ten year milestone, after already touring it in the States a few months back and, put simply, it’s a once in a lifetime celebration.

First on is a short set from one of the band’s former vocalists, Kurt Travis [7], who stands alone equipped with nothing but a guitar and a microphone. His dulcet yet mournful tones are low key yet enticing, and as he croons and sings along to his lightly plucked strings, we’re serenaded comfortably into what’s to follow.

Travis comes back a short while after his set, only this time to help other former and original vocalist Jonny Craig [6] with his set. As everyone who has seen him live before can attest, Craig can absolutely kill it every time. Tonight is no different, only it seems a bit lacklustre, and not because he’s on a off night, but because of a four song set, only one isn’t a cover. Still, his take on Justin Timberlake‘s hit ‘Cry Me A River’ and ‘Rolling Stone’ by The Weeknd are near impeccable.

Good Tiger [7] are the only act tonight who have no affiliation with Dance Gavin Dance, and the only British one on the bill too. ‘Snake Oil’ sets things off, which is also when we start to get our first mosh pit of the night, and new cut ‘Float On’ gets a few heads banging. Their high octane and fast tempo tech metal is a definite change of pace from the evening so far, but is a fitting transition into the headlining act.

They’re ten years and seven records deep into their career, and Dance Gavin Dance [9] know just how to celebrate the occasion. With an (until recently) ever revolving line-up door, the main focus of which being their change of vocalists, they’ve decided to bring all of them since day one on the road to perform their respective era of songs.

Current vocalists Tilian Pearson and Jon Mess have a great chemistry and tag team effort going on, and fresher hits like ‘Stroke God, Millionaire’, ‘Betrayed By The Game’ and ‘Strawberry Swisher, Pt. 3’ get the crowd bouncing nice and early. The late noughties are visited with Travis back on the stage, and several years on ‘Tree Village’ and ‘Alex English’ still sound as visceral as they did when they showed their face.

Travis passes the microphone over to Craig for a few of his numbers, and debut album cuts ‘Lemon Meringue Tie’ and ‘And I Told Them I Invited Times New Roman’ are nothing short of a treat for the true old school members of the crowd. The crowning moment, however, comes when all of the members pile on the stage and spit a verse each for ‘Uneasy Hearts Weight The Most’, and if it wasn’t clear before, now with all three singers together at the same song, it’s clear how distinct each of their styles are yet all truly hold/held an identity for the Sacramento troupe.

What Dance Gavin Dance have achieved here is delivering a tour that is truly for the fans. They all have their own favourite songs, favourite albums, and favourite vocalists, and now for the first (and probably only ever) time, they managed to experience them together in one whole evening. It’s a snapshot of Dance Gavin Dance‘s past ten years, and a benchmark for the next ten to follow.

Written by Zach Redrup (@zachredrup)