Wednesday, 30 November 2016

Live Review: Dance Gavin Dance w/ Good Tiger, Jonny Craig & Kurt Travis @ The Globe Cardiff - 14/11/16

Sacramento screamo outfit, Dance Gavin Dance, celebrate 10-years of kicking ass by paying Cardiff’s The Globe a visit on what is the sixth date on their European and UK tour. As well as riding the wave of their jaw-dropping new album, Mothership, which was released last month, the band have something quite special planned for this tour.

As people start to gather themselves on the venue floor, ex-DGD singer Kurt Travis [3] begins with a solo set that has very little to do with your typical DGD show, as he rightfully points out, getting a sympathetic chuckle from the crowd. For what was expected to be a night full of wall-bouncing energy, the empathetic tones of Travis is met with questionable looks with his audience, who are engaging more in conversation than on the music. By the halfway mark of his performance there is very little interest about what is happening on stage. A little cheer goes out for his cover of Strawberry Swisher, but in this uninspiring display of two-dimensional, pseudo-acoustic filler, things could only get better.

Facebook: /kurttravismusic
Twitter: @kurttravis

Drilling home the point that this is indeed an anniversary show, who should come to the stage but Kurt Travis (again) with other former DGD and currant Slaves (US) vocalist Jonny Craig [5]. We tip our hat to the boys, this is obviously not an easy situation to come to terms with. Considering they had either left or were kicked out of the headline act, this move is bold enough to redeem this duet. It goes without saying that Craig’s voice is spectacular, there’s no escaping it. All that was missing was Sharon, Simon and Cheryl sitting on the top balcony to complete the picture that Craig’s powerhouse vocal acrobatics were painting. However, there is very little added in terms of creativity following Travis’s previous set, ultimately failing to shunt this show forward.

Facebook: /jonnycraigmusic
Twitter: @jonnycraig4L

A little more relevant are Good Tiger [6], who realistically should have been the ones to kick things off this evening. Drums by this point are a sight for sore eyes, as the five-piece delight us with their brand of math-pop punk that is both quirky and melodic. They manage to get the rather dulled out venue up and running with a few heads bobbing across the crowd. Ex-Tesseract vocalist Elliot Coleman nails his performance and is bursting with charisma, that unfortunately some of his bandmates don’t seem to share. 

Facebook: /GoodTigerOfficial
Twitter: @GoodTiger

Dance Gavin Dance [5] come crashing onto the stage, pumping the atmosphere with their signature hard pelting melodic hooks, soaring vocal lines provided by current singer Tilian Pearson with Jon Mess on shouting duty. "Chucky Vs The Giant Tortoise" is welcomed with open arms as an actual mosh pit begins to form. However, after a few songs the band decided to take their tour down memory lane even further by switching out newcomer Pearson with, (you guessed it) Kurt Travis. By this point, the novelty of bringing back familiar faces has totally run its course. For long-time fans, DGD were an Iron Man short of a full-on epic assembly of avengers, though the same enthusiasm can’t be said for the casual spectator tonight. Predictably, when Travis was done, it was Craig’s turn at the microphone. If both opening slots were taken by supporting bands outside the DGD social circle, this would have at least given the Californians a bit more credibility for their experiment.

With as many substitutions as a champions league final in the 89th minute, everything about this evening seemed like a missed opportunity. Musically speaking, everyone is on point from a technical stand point, but it is simply overshadowed by what is essentially a diplomatic move that benefits the band, and only the band. Pearson, who arguably should have taken front and centre tonight, finally makes it back on stage, just in time for the all-out encore featuring the whole line-up, which draws this evening to a disappointing close.

The unshakable notion that DGD clearly value their own past more than investing in their future is a very risky and arrogant move. Given that Mothership is one hell of a strong album, it seems their egos got the better of them. Only playing two tracks off said album, it will be a while before fans are treated to the blistering likes of "Flossie Dickey Bounce" or "Philosopher King", which is a massive shame. On the one hand, they’re obviously appealing to their older fans in this setting, but simultaneously alienating newcomers, which could potentially hurt them big time in the long run.

Facebook: /DanceGavinDance
Twitter: @DGDtheband

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