Dance Gavin Dance / Good Tiger / Jonny Craig / Kurt Travis – The Fleece, Bristol (15th Nov 2016)

Ten years is a huge milestone for any band, and for American math rockers Dance Gavin Dance, a band who have gone through many line up changes, to be able to set out on a UK tour and bring along with them two former frontmen was a treat indeed! The night was a monumental one, essentially showcasing the legacy of Dance Gavin Dance with all four vocalists singing their respective songs. This concluded in a huge finale with all members past and present on stage together. Lifelong DGD fans and new ones alike were treated to a spectacle of vocal prowess and might.

The night began with a solo set from Kurt Travis, who was vocalist of the band from 2007-2010. He played a collection of mellow acoustic songs, and the technical capabilities of his guitar playing whilst singing was very impressive. Songs “The Valar” and “The Malar” were personal favourites of mine. All in all it was a very relaxing opening act to start of the night’s proceedings, but nonetheless very intricate and pleasant on the ear.


Next on was Jonny Craig, being accompanied by Kurt Travis on guitar. Jonny Craig being a member of the band from 2005–2007 and 2010–2012, now is the frontman of American post-hardcore outfit Slaves. Jonny performed a couple of originals and a variety of covers ranging from a song by The Weeknd to a classic Justin Timberlake song. Jonny seemed to connect with the audience a bit more and his takes on the covers he performed had a beautifully mesmeric twist.

The audience had been primed and ready by two chilled out acoustic sets from the former DGD vocalists and you could feel how eager many were to let loose to some heavier grooves. Main supports for the tour were transatlantic prog rockers/metallers Good Tiger. The band opened with “Snake Oil”, arguably their heaviest track. As vocalist Elliot Coleman’s fierce vocals echoed round the room I was very impressed by the technicality of all members of the band. Drummer Alex Rudinger’s grooves and beats were hit with such incredible force and complexity yet was perfectly in sync with both the cleaner and heavier parts of tracks. It seemed to glue the music together so well! The band played personal favourites of mine “Aspirations” and “Where Are The Birds”, and to my delight performed an unreleased track titled “Float On”. This band have only been on the up since their inception and are due to hit the studio soon, I cannot wait to hear what’s next for them!

As Dance Gavin Dance hit the stage the crowd erupted, and the relief from three long years of not touring in the UK was most definitely released. The band opened with the opening track off their latest album Mothership titled “Chucky vs. The Giant Tortoise”. Vocalist Tilian Pearson’s soaring lines, beefed up by the harsh screams of Jon Mess created this bittersweet mix which sat beautifully in the mix ever complex instrumentals. Guitarist Will Swan and the rest of the band definitely showed their virtuosity through the mesmerising sweep guitars and fast blast beats all whilst keeping a very good balance, allowing the vocals to shine at all points in the various songs they played.


As the night progressed Tilian and Jon took a brief break from the stage and on came Kurt and Jonny, each in turn, to highlight the mark they each respectively left on the band. The crowd were shocked to see this turn of events and relished the legacy of Dance Gavin Dance right in front of their eyes. The night ended with an encore of fan favourite “Uneasy Hearts Weigh the Most” with all former and current vocalists on stage. With fans pouring their hearts out and wishing for ten more years of this unique and truly inspiring outfit, the night was one for the audience never to forget.

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