Tumultuous is a fair adjective by which to describe Dance Gavin Dance‘s last year or so. From the expected Covid-related tour delays of 2020 to drummer Matt Mingus‘ uncertain future with the band to the unexpected Covid-related show postponements of 2021. Whew! Got all that? Nonetheless, the DGD bunch finally made it to Atlanta for a 2-night sold-out shindig at one of the iconic venues of the Southeast United States, The Masquerade. Now the question stands, was it worth the wait? I guess the answer falls on whom you would ask. Some fans would say “yes,” while other fans would claim “hell yes.” Subjective, so it seems.
It was a lengthy wait for Tilian and company to take to the stage. After a slew of opening acts, the West Coast quintet walked into a rousing cheer from the thousands on hand at roughly half past ten. The energy was sky high, the strobes light up the center stage, Will Swan plays his openings notes, and well, Tilian leads the way with a vibrant rendition of “Prisoner.” The Afterburner Tour party erupts.
Moving along, the post-hardcore troupe make good use of their time in the spotlight as they rifle off banger after banger after banger. Riled up onlookers feed off the band and vice versa. The mutualism between Dance Gavin Dance and their aficionados plays a key role in the evening’s outcome; like with a sports game, the louder the crowd, the more the adrenaline rushes.
Andrew Wells, of Ediola fame, joined the band with some bitchin’ bass play and fine backup vocals, alongside bass master Tim Feerick. Solid as ever, Will Swan shredded that lead guitar per usual, fill-in drummer Dakota Sammons made everyone forget about Mingus’ absence if only for a minute. While Dance Gavin Dance is a fivesome, it really is helmed by the two-headed monster of Jon Mess and Tilian Pearson. Mess, a fairly average sized man, carries towering messy-vocals duties like a champion. However, on this night, it was Tilian Pearson that stole the show. For lack of a better explanation, simply wow. It is seldom that an artist’s voice in a live setting outweighs the one on record; lo and behold, Tilian is one of those artists.
All said and done, the main show does last a wimpy 50+ minutes from start to end; however, the motto goes “quality over quantity,” and it seems that is the Dance Gavin Dance game plan on this tour. Sheer quality, indeed.