Show Review: Dance Gavin Dance w/ Matt Geise & Kurt Travis
February 19 @ Soma (San Diego, CA)
The sixth incarnation* of the Dance Gavin Dance traveling band has managed to keep the dream alive, but doesn’t clue in on the future one bit. Rather than cancelling a second tour due to the latest Jonny Craig shenanigans, the band got creative: old friend and Lower Definition vocalist Matt Geise came out to sing Craig’s catalog, while ex-DGD vocalist Kurt Travis returned to play his era’s tunes. The result was a high-energy set of greatest hits that hit the mark as often as it missed.
The unique line-up allowed for all kinds of interesting possibilities, allowing the band to draw from all four of their full-lengths and play the fan favorites. The crowd couldn’t get enough of Kurt’s return, carrying over the energy from A Lot Like Birds’ vicious set earlier in the night; his five songs were met with massive cheers, with “Uneasy Hearts Weigh The Most” and “Alex English” inspiring the strongest reactions (barring the encore). Travis handled his songs like a champ, nailing every take despite playing a combined 1.5 sets that night.
It was with Geise where the question marks arose, as covering Jonny Craig proved to be no easy task. At the lower end of Craig’s range, Matt easily delivered, with “Spooks” and “Pounce Bounce” coming through strong. Results varied on tracks that required those signature Jonny highs. The classic “Lemon Meringue Tie” wasn’t close, and “The Robot With Human Hair Pt. 2 ½” was passable, though forgettable. On the 11th hour, Geise came through on “It’s Safe To Say You Dig The Backseat,” hitting each high despite slightly less power than the original. Assuming his old guest vocal role on the “Rock Solid” encore ended the night on a high, sending the crowd into a frenzy before curtains.
Clean vocalists aside, the remaining full-time Dancers played well. The music hit hard, with tons of power behind every track reminding fans that when the ridiculousness is contained, the band does have something left in the tank. Only complaint here was that the guys seemed almost bored at times, with virtually no movement from anyone without a microphone; no matter how heavy the riff, we were lucky to see head-bumping on stage from the musicians. This was not the case for Jon Mess, who continues to be an absolute monster – every strained line had immense power, energizing every kid in the building, one scream at a time.
Thanks to the setlist, the Kurt comeback, and Geise’ showmanship, the show had notable highs, and was worth attending. Should the band’s always shaky future extend past this tour, Geise proved himself to be a suitable addition despite some struggles with the back catalog. The large showing tonight (and sold-out show the previous night) proved that no matter how aggravating their personnel changes are, a faithful audience remains happy and hopeful for a DGD 7.0.
Catch Dance Gavin Dance on tour with A Lot Like Birds through March 3 (remaining dates can be seen here).