Hot on the heels of their hugely successful inaugural Swanfest, Dance Gavin Dance brought their Artificial Selection Tour to a packed Brooklyn Bowl in Las Vegas. On this leg of their tour they have brought along four additional acts including Periphery, Don Broco, Hail The Sun, and Covet.
Covet was the first act to take the stage. They are a three-piece instrumental "adventure rock" band from San Francisco, and they have a very funky, jazz sound to them and they were quite good. Their guitarist, Yvette, was exceptional, the energetic crowd occasionally cheering loudly in their approval of her skills. It was obvious early on that this was going to be a lively crowd with lots of interaction toward the performers.
Next up was Hail The Sun, a progressive post-hardcore band from Chico, CA. Hail The Sun consists of lead vocalist and drummer Donovan Melero, lead guitarist Shane Gann, rhythm guitarist Aric Garcia, and bass guitarist John Stirrat. Traditionally vocalist, Donovan Melero, plays drums while handling the lead vocals but they have apparently added a drummer (not sure who it is) to free up Donovan for his "front man" role. I'm not certain if this is something that they are doing just for this tour or if this will be a permanent replacement, but it seemed a wise choice, allowing Donovan to ramp up the energy by bouncing around the stage and whipping his mic cord frantically about. Throughout the first couple of songs they were experiencing some microphone issues and vocalist, Donovan, kept having to borrow one from the guitarist. Once they got their mic issues worked out things went smoothly from there on. They put on a solid performance and the audience responded in kind with vocal applause.
Don Broco took over the stage after that, and kept the crowd buzzing. They are a rock band from the UK formed in England in 2008, and consisting of Rob Damiani (lead vocals and electronics), Simon Delaney (guitar), Tom Doyle (bass) and Matt Donnelly (drums and vocals). While I wouldn't consider them to be of the same post-hardcore style as the other bands, they really fit in and were very well received by the audience. Even the security guards started to bob their heads and move to the rhythm. A couple of songs in they took time out to wish their vocalist, Rob, a happy birthday, present him with a cake, and sing Happy Birthday to him. These guys are very listenable and were my surprise band of the night, and are now in my rotation on Spotify. I had never heard anything from them, although I'd had a few people mention prior that they had seen them at a recent festival, and really enjoyed them. They played a six song set, all of which were from their most recent release, Technology, and they were excellent, although I would have liked to hear them do some of their older music from their previous release, Automatic (2015).
Periphery, a progressive metal band from D.C., followed Don Broco. They are Misha Mansoor (bass, guitars, programming), Jake Bowen (guitar, programming, backing vocals), Matt Halpern (drums), Spencer Sotelo (lead vocals), and Mark Holcomb (guitars). Periphery is very well-established, originally forming in 2005, but with their core lineup solidifying in 2010 when Sotelo joined. They then began producing music and have since put out six full length studio albums and two EPs, with their latest, Hail Stan dropping just a few days after the show. It became apparent just a couple of songs in, that this band was a crowd favorite when they announced the song "The Way The News Goes" and the audience began to loudly sing along word-for-word. Surprisingly, they only performed one track, "Blood Eagle", from their new album, and they finished their set off with "Masamune", to an appreciative round of applause, and then began the wait while the stage was transformed for the headliner.
After the changeover, the members of Dance Gavin Dance began to trickle onto the stage, beginning with Matt Mingus taking his throne behind the drum kit, followed by Tim Feerick on bass, Will Swan on lead guitar, Jon Mess handling unclean vocals, Tilian Pearson handling the clean vocals, and accompanied by Andrew Michael Wells (vocalist and guitar for the band EIDOLA) who handles rhythm guitar and backing vocals for DGD when out on tour. It has been less than five months since DGD last visited us in Las Vegas, the last time being in support of Underoath, back in November, at this same venue. There was a notable difference in that last time, they had a few meager feet to assemble their six-man crew. This time they had full stage access and utilized every inch of it (well, at least Tilian did, gyrating back and forth across the stage, obviously entranced in the moment). While the crowd had been quite vocal for the four preceding groups it was obvious that this was the moment they had all been waiting for, singing along on every song, filling the mosh pit with flailing bodies, and crowd surfers streaming over the rail. The energy in the building most certainly ramped up. As they do, DGD brought their "A" game, and treated us to a stellar post-hardcore performance. While it had been such a short time since I had last seen them, it was great to see them as a headliner.
Dance Gavin Dance photos from Randy Udell / R U Rockin' Photos
Don Bronco photos from Randy Udell / R U Rockin' Photos
Hail the Sun photos from Randy Udell / R U Rockin' Photos
Pheriphery photos from Randy Udell / R U Rockin' Photos
Covet photos from Randy Udell / R U Rockin' Photos