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Review: Dance Gavin Dance et al at Knitting Factory was a night of frenetic guitars and tasty grooves

UPDATED: Thu., April 28, 2022

By Taylor D. Waring For The Spokesman-Review

Dance Gavin Dance kicked off its national tour with Memphis May Fire, Volumes and Moon Tooth at Knitting Factory on Tuesday evening, and the post-hardcore-laden bill ensured that the evening was filled with frenetic guitars, high-pitched vocals and tons of tasty grooves.

The night was strewn with a variety of intense emotions, from mourning to joyful returns home.

The post-hardcore genre rose to mainstream popularity in the early 2000s with Fuse-era bands like My Chemical Romance, AFI and Dance Gavin Dance. While its roots are in hardcore punk, the genre itself only takes hardcore as a canvas and paints a variety of textures over it, usually with a focus on experimentation and technical prowess.

Bands like Dance Gavin Dance bring a mathematic, technical approach to the genre, AFI adds post and horror punk influences, and At the Drive-In blends in Latin American influences. The genre serves as the basis for the massive millennial emo (originally dubbed “emotional hardcore”) movement.

Long Island’s Moon Tooth opened the evening with a high-energy performance. Their guitarist, Nick Lee, delivered a particularly enthralling performance with his blistering leads and cranked Marshall amplifier. This gives the band a more hard-rocking flavor to their particular brand of post-hardcore.

They were followed by Los Angeles’ Volumes, who have a djent sound with massive hooks and two powerhouse lead vocalists. In many instances, when a band has two vocalists in this genre, one sticks to screaming and one sticks to clean vocals. Michael Barr and Myke Terry, however, each use a mix of both, which creates both an interesting approach and exhilarating live performance, as with their new track, “Bend.”

While it was clearly Dance Gavin Dance’s show, the evening featured the onstage return of Spokane’s Matty Mullins, lead singer of the evening’s third act, Memphis May Fire.

After their first song, Mullins said, “We’re from Nashville, but tonight I’m home,” to crowd cheers. Throughout their set, Spokane chanted his name.

Last week, Dance Gavin Dance announced the sudden death of their 34-year-old bass player Tim Feerick, who had been with the band the last 10 years. The cause of death hasn’t been announced and is being investigated. He was replaced on this tour by Sergio Medina, who plays in the associated act Royal Coda.

According to a Facebook post, the band decided to continue with the tour in memory of Feerick, saying, “The main factor of this decision came from knowing who Tim was as a person and what he would have wanted. We are confident that he would be very disappointed if we were to postpone or cancel these dates.”

Dance Gavin Dance performed a powerful and energetic set with little stage banter or crowd interaction. They performed fan favorites like “Synergy,” “Uneasy Hearts Weigh the Most” and “Lyrics Lie.” After a massive applause and demand, they closed the evening with an encore of “We Own the Night.”

With another successful tour kicking off at Knitting Factory, the spring concert season is in full force.

There’s plenty to look forward to coming up, so be sure to keep an eye out for the onslaught of concert announcements for the 2022 concert season.

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