Hey, here’s a shocker: Jonny Craig got kicked out of Dance Gavin Dance last summer. I think that’s something like 3 bands in 5 years. But you know what? I still bought tickets to the Rock Yourself to Sleep Tour without even knowing who was going to be singing for Dance Gavin Dance, because I wanted to show my support for me, and also because A Lot Like Birds was also on the tour.
Fun Fact (for probably no one but kids like me, and if you’re a kid like me, you already know this anyway): The singer for A Lot Like Birds is Kurt Travis, who was Jonny’s first replacement in Dance Gavin Dance, and also the guy who got the boot when everyone decided to invite Jonny back in during the summer of 2010. But it would seem everyone is on good terms. Kurt even played guitar during some of Jonny’s post-rehab solo shows last year.
A few weeks ago, Jonny had a petulant little tweet about how he hoped everyone enjoyed the Dance Gavin Dance shows, because they were supposedly refusing to perform any of the stuff Jonny did with them. (Admittedly, the two albums they wrote with Kurt aren’t my favorites, but considering Jonny refused to sing any of Kurt’s songs when he came back to DGD, it would be nice to finally hear some stuff from that era again. Plus, one of my favorite Dance Gavin Dance songs is a Kurt Travis/Nic Newsham joint, so I thought maybe, oh just maybe, we might get treated to a Kurt cameo that night.)
Guys, you should know by now that I have a textbook love/hate relationship inside my heart with Jonny Craig. I think he’s a total prat as a person (spend 30 seconds reading his tweets) but when he sings? It’s like aural honey.
Like feeling the breath of hot, naked angels on your neck.
Like a naked group hug with Bradley Cooper and Ryan Lochte.
OK, OK. His voice makes me feel super awesome, let’s just leave it at that.
I knew that I would be all whiny and wistful about this, so I decided that I was going to drink, because sometimes that actually has a reverse effect on me at shows and it curtails my crazy emotions. (Seriously, I cry a lot at shows.)
Other bands in the night’s lineup:
- [Never did catch the opening band’s name. I’m pretty sure they played the same song for their entire set.]
- The Orphan The Poet
- Hail the Sun – I really, really liked them. Prog-rock-esque, and the drummer is the singer so I gotta give some hearty props to that, or I’m not a Phil Collins lover. I think Henry secretly liked them because they had the same style as his — as in, nondescript.
- I The Mighty – Pretty much a paint-by-numbers example of Music Erin Will Like. Being on Equal Vision Records was the first indication. [Watch a video here.] I was thoroughly entertained by their set, but admittedly growing restless because I really, really wanted to see A Lot Like Birds.
- A Lot Like Birds – Woooo! They stole my heart! Henry was not impressed, but I think that’s probably because he didn’t understand it. Kurt Travis can SANG, y’all. Good lord. I wanted Henry to buy me all of their hoodies but then he reminded me that I had drunk my merch fund through a red-and-white swizzle.
Henry’s Faux-Frown. Seriously, the man was not hating his life as much as he wants the Internet to believe. I think he was just mostly amused by how quickly I get drunk now in my old, boring age.
I was pretty stupid. Even crashed into the singer from the Orphan the Poet after shadow-dancing with him at the bottom of the steps during my stumbling journey to the restroom.
Somehow, I manage to crash into singers a lot at shows, just never the right ones.
I fell in love so hard with A Lot Like Birds that night. Henry’s opinion did not change.
Um. Great turn out, guys.
The last time we saw Dance Gavin Dance at the Altar Bar was March 2011, and the floor was packed almost as soon as the doors opened, all because of a little someone named Jonny Craig.
After ousting Jonny for the second time, DGD enlisted the aid of official Jonny Craig fill-in Tilian Pearson (ex-Tides of Man) to take the helm. The last time Henry and I went to see Emarosa, Jonny had left the tour THAT DAY to fly to California for detox, so Tilian was a last minute stand-in then too. I like the guy, and I think he did a better job with DGD than he did with Emarosa (though to be fair, the night we saw him with Emarosa was his first time singing with them, and it literally was a game time decision-type thing so he didn’t have much time to prepare), but there is something about his voice that gets to me after awhile. Maybe it’s just too Geddy Lee, I don’t know, but there were times where I found myself cringing.
He kind of reminds me of Craig Owens, too.
Anyway, a major upside to a Jonny-less DGD meant that the band could actually play from their entire catalogue (turns out was Jonny was wrong!), something that they took full advantage of. It was really fun to hear Self Titled and Happiness-era tracks again, especially NASA and my favorite non-Jonny DGD song of all time: “Uneasy Hearts Weigh the Most.”
Have you ever HEARD that song?!
Nic Newsham (ex-Gatsby’s American Dream) is on it, too, and it was my fucking jam during the summer of 2008.
I really, really, really thought for sure that Kurt would come out and sing it with Tilian, but they pulled up Donovan from Hail the Sun instead. Still, it was pretty cool to hear that song live again. The last time for me was 2009.
At one point, Henry pointed to (screamer) Jon Mess and yelled over the music, “What’s his name again?” OMG why do you care, Henry? Unless you really do like them? WHICH HE ADMITTED TO AFTERWARD IN THE CAR! (He still hates Jonny though, and clarified that he liked Dance Gavin Dance the best that night when Tilian left the stage and they played a song from their side project:
I mostly did OK with the changes, except when they closed down the show with “Lemon Meringue Tie.” Without Jonny, that song is kind of…just a song. So I did cry a little bit then. That was the first Dance Gavin Dance song I ever heard in 2007, planting the seed for this intervention-worthy Jonny Craig love affair.
I better get used to the changes, because they announced that Tilian, once a vagabond singer without a band, is now a perma-member of Dance Gavin Dance, and they’re writing a new album together. Whatever it takes to keep some life in that band, I’m down.
I don’t care.