Last Friday, post-hardcore titans Dance Gavin Dance took the House of Blues stage by storm for a second consecutive night in Chicago. The night provided a wide array of metal and rock across many subgenres with support from Periphery, Don Broco, Hail the Sun, and Covet. Anyone that knows these artists can understand why they were able to sell out two consecutive nights at the venue within less than a week of their respective on sale dates. Check out our photo gallery from Kayla Gray along with our show review below!
Covet kicked off an epic night of music and brought forth their fusion of avant-garde and math rock to the stage. Guitarist Yvette Young showcased her technical playing ability the entire set and melted minds on tracks like “Falkor”. Drummer Forrest Rice was very interactive with the crowd and kept them involved through the show. Not too many bands can come out and kick off a night of five bands with a nearly 8 minute instrumental track like “Falkor”. Covet did it seamlessly and set the tone for a great night of music. If you’re into chill, but also complex music, I highly recommend getting out and seeing this band as soon as you can.
Hail the Sun has been on my radar for a while. It was a treat to finally get to witness one of their live performances. I got a chance to see vocalist Donovan Melero’s other band, Sianvar, this past summer on another tour with Dance Gavin Dance and was blown away by his energy and stage presence. His presence was felt even more in this set from the moment they took that stage. Melero runs all around the stage swinging his mic stand around like a mad man while hitting crazy notes throughout the set. The set was taken to another level when he got behind the drum kit for a couple of songs. Through most of Hail the Sun‘s career, Melero has also had drummer duties. Seeing his ability to smash through technical songs like “Will They Blame Me If You Go Disappearing” without his voice wavering at all was a sight to see. Progressive riffs from Shane Gann and Aric Garcia shredded throughout the venue as they ripped through their six song set. Of the five bands that played, Hail the Sun left the biggest impression on me for the night as I wasn’t sure what to expect from them. I’m really itching to go out and see these guys as soon as possible and I recommend that you do the same!
Over the last year, British rock band Don Broco has really taken off here in the United States. They’re already playing huge venues over in Europe, but we’re just now starting to catch on to the infectiously fun live shows that they put on. I hadn’t listened to them a whole lot going into the show, but I’ve been listening every day since the show ended. Seeing them live gives you a new perspective into their music that I didn’t really get before. They pack a heavy alternative/funk sound with catchy pop rock choruses. They fit in in several different places, from being on a tour like this to touring with 5 Seconds of Summer just a couple years ago. They put on a performance that you can have fun witnessing without really knowing any of their music. I walked in kind of skeptical as they were pretty different from everyone else on the bill and left the show as a fan. The set was heavy on material from their recent release ‘Technology’. They got better as the set progressed and closed explosively with the hard hitting “Pretty”. This band is going to make a lot of noise when people check them out at the debut of Sonic Temple in Columbus, Ohio next month. Get familiar with Don Broco because they are about to take off.
By the time Periphery took the stage, fans were ready for some brutal, immense riffs from the djent giants. I haven’t seen Periphery since they played Chicago Open Air back in 2016. Since then, they have toured heavily off of the ‘Select Difficulty’ material that they dropped that year. Just this month, they released their first brand new material since 2016 with ‘Hail Stan’. The record has pleased fans old and new with a mix of the heaviness that they bring to the table along with their more melodic parts that have shown up more often on recent records. The floor erupted into a battlefield as they tore into “The Bad Thing” to start their set. Misha Mansoor continues to prove that he is a riff mastermind on some of the new tracks they performed like “Garden in the Bones” and the debut single of the album “Blood Eagle”. Hearing how heavy some of this material transitions live is incredible. The three guitar onslaught from the band gives them another thick layer live that doesn’t get captured as well on studio recordings. Spencer Sotelo got the crowd going as he made his way out to the floor several different times. Closing their set with “Masamune” from ‘Periphery II’, they left the crowd pumped for Dance Gavin Dance as we prepared for them to close the night.
Over the last year, I’ve become increasingly familiar with the discography of Dance Gavin Dance. The diversity and lineup changes that they’ve had throughout the years while still putting out amazing record after amazing record is nothing short of remarkable. You could walk through the crowd at this show and ask what songs they want to hear and every person could give you a different answer. There’s not one big hit or anything, just a huge amount of great songs and musicianship dating all the way back to the inception of the band. It’s hard to be disappointed with anything that they play as there’s so much that one wants to hear. They made sure not to disappoint and delivered a strong 12 song set. The amount of talent in this group is seriously insane. Tilian Pearson and Jon Mess never cease to amaze me as one of the best live vocal duos that I’ve seen to date. “We Own The Night” is a great example of the chemistry these two have on stage together. Tilian singing melodically in the background while Jon Mess belts out the nonsensical chorus is always fun to see. Will Swan and Andrew Wells deliver these awesome sweeping riffs throughout each song that take me back to the days that I listened to Fall of Troy heavily. Tim Feerick rips through his bass lines throughout the night. One of my favorite moments of his is the outro that he plays on “Count Bassy”. Last, but definitely not least, is Matt Mingus. His drumming has always been a high point of the band. The whole night we were treated to great drummers but this guy is on another level. This set was slightly different from the rest of the tour. Being the second night in Chicago, the band wanted to give the fans that attended both shows something a little different for that night. We were fortunate to hear “Lemon Meringue Tie” and “Death of a Strawberry”, two songs that hadn’t been played on this current US tour until that night. They replaced “Suspended in This Disaster” and “Flossie Dickey Bounce” from the previous night. Aside from that, the set remained the same. The crowd reacted strongly to the new material. I was convinced that the floor was going to explode when the breakdown on “The Rattler” took off. “Head Hunter” just dropped last month and sounded fantastic live. It was also a surprise to get to hear “Uneasy Hearts Weigh the Most” from the DGD era with Kurt Travis. Typically, Wells doesn’t get to show off his vocal ability much with Dance Gavin Dance (he fronts a great band called Eidola if you don’t know about them already). They allowed him to take over some of the verses on this song and he executed Kurt’s feel and sound extremely well. It’d be cool to see them try to incorporate him more into their future recordings if he becomes a full time member. The night came to a close with the first song that actually features Wells on vocals with DGD in “Evaporate”. The song is great for all fans, old and new, as it features callbacks to older songs like “Alex English”, “Surprise! I’m From Cuba, Everyone Else Has One Brain”, “Acceptance Speech”, and more. All in all, it was a fantastic performance and capped off a great night of bands at the House of Blues. If there would’ve been a third night at the venue, you can bet I would have found a way to get there!
Although Periphery just hopped off for the second half of the tour, I highly recommend getting out there and checking out this tour if you have a chance. Thousand Below will be opening the shows for the rest of the tour as Periphery‘s replacement. Check out the tour dates below along with our photo gallery from Kayla Gray and get out to a show!