From the very first moment I first heard Dance Gavin Dance almost 9 years ago, I was instantly smitten. I was already neck-deep in the post-hardcore scene, but this just sounded so different to me. I obsessed hard and it quickly became the official soundtrack of 2008-2009, to the point where Henry had become numb to it. Through numerous line-up changes (including three singers!), I have never given up on them. So when they announced a few months ago that they’re celebrating their 10 years as a band with a tour, I knew I had to go even though Jonny Craig’s band, Slaves, was going to be there and I absolutely cannot stand them (I actually despise the other guys in that band more than I hate Jonny Craig, so you know it’s real). I felt like a hypocrite though, since I’ve said many times that I wasn’t going to support a single thing JC does anymore, but then Kara reasoned that I shouldn’t feel that way about this, because I love DGD so much and JC is a part of their history. So, I decided that I would go and just deal with it.
And I’m so happy that I did! It was mind-exploding. In addition to Slaves, Strawberry Girls and A Lot Like Birds were also on the tour, which meant all three DGD singers plus one former guitarist could potentially perform together. I wouldn’t have been able to forgive myself if I missed that! And I am a super huge Kurt Travis fan kid, so getting to hear him sing with ALLB and then DGD in one night was almost too much for me to handle. It’s been over 5 years since I’ve seen him perform with DGD so I was in sheer Heaven.
And seriously, this 15 second Instavid from ALLB’s set gives me unlimited heart-flops and goosebumps:
DGD’s set started out with their current singer, Tilian, who I do actually love a ton and he has really breathed new life into DGD. I love the direction they have been going with him and I’m happy to see that he’s survived through two albums so far!
With Tilian, they played some songs from Instant Gratification and Acceptance Speech:
- Stroke God, Millionaire
- On the Run
- Strawberry Swisher, Pt. 3
- Death of a Strawberry
The crowd was pretty great all night, but it was nuts for DGD. Especially anytime Jon Mess starts screaming. He is fucking beloved and more than anything, he is the one I would want to meet someday even though this entire band intimidates me so badly. I just think he’s a literal genius, 100%. Even HENRY likes Jon Mess and has said more than once that he’s his favorite DGD member, past or present. For Henry to even seriously answer that question is a huge deal. It was fun watching him do a slow clap after every song, too. HENRY IS A FAN.
After Variation, they left the stage while the Instant Gratification banner fell, revealing another one with a giant “X” made from all of their album covers. And then everyone returned, with Kurt Travis and Zachary Garren replacing Tilian and the current touring guitarist from Eidola. IT WAS FUCKING AMAZING.
With Kurt, they played:
- Tree Village
- Rock Solid
- And I Told Them I Invented Times New Roman
- Robot With Human Hair 2 1/2
This video isn’t from the Cleveland show, OH WELL. The only one I could find from that one was terrible.
I still don’t like Jonny Craig for personal reasons that admittedly have nothing to do with his music and I’m not sorry for that, but I have to say that it was pretty amazing getting to relive some of my favorite moments of DGD history, and especially hearing this song, it was just unbelievable. Discovering DGD really changed the course of my musical tastes and I will forever attribute that to Jonny Craig, because it was his fucking stupid golden voice that hooked me from the very first second and forced me to pay attention. DGD definitely isn’t a band for everyone and the only reason I even gave them that first play was based on their band name. So yes, sometimes judging a band by their name pays off.
- Uneasy Hearts Weigh the Most
- We Own the Night
I remember seeing ALLB on tour with DGD a few years back and thinking that for sure Kurt would come out and sing “Uneasy Hearts…” with them, since that song has dual-singers, but instead, Donovan from Hail the Sun did the honors. But on this night, Jonny, Kurt, AND Tilian all took turns singing it and my head and heart could barely handle the fact that ALL DGD SINGERS WERE ON THE SAME STAGE.
The show ended with just Tilian-era DGD blowing the roof off the joint with “We Own the Night.” I just wish that Dayshell hadn’t been on the tour so that maybe DGD would have played longer, giving Kurt and Jonny more stage time. Also, I hate Slaves and literally stood with my back toward the stage during their entire set* (which, by some grace of God, was cut short) but I understand why they were there, at least. It made sense to bring out the past singers’ current bands, and Strawberry Girls, but as far as I’m aware, there isn’t a real connection with Dayshell and DGD.
*(I’m not going to lie, Jonny sounded fine during his set with Slaves but the rest of the band sounds like a tinny landslide of shit-filled pots and pans. I’m not even saying that because I hate those douchebags. They honestly just aren’t a good band and it sounded like they were just playing the music for the same song 4 times.)
But oh for fuck’s sake, I just can’t stop replaying this night over and over in my head and smiling and crying and then thanking Henry for taking me to Cleveland on a work night and then buying me this sweet ass screen print!!
DGD is in my Forever Top 5 and I can’t tell you how many times a day I think about the future tattoo I’m going to get to honor them. But it has to be epic. With strawberries and robots with human hair and the art of Mattias Adolfson (with his permission, of course). Because this band has made the music that is fucking everything to me.
I’m still wearing my House of Blues wristband. LE SIGH.