Dance Gavin Dance. If anyone asked me for a band to check out today, I’d recommend these guys in a heartbeat – unless that person hated heavy music, even then I’d still try my luck anyway. To be honest, it wasn’t until late last year that I got into these guys. Quick history – I heard about Dance Gavin Dance many years ago when they still had Jonny Craig on vocals. However, I wasn’t really into their music at that time so I ignored them until a few years ago when Tilian Pearson (their current singer) was rumored to join Saosin. Since I was a huge Saosin fan and was curious about who was going to fill Cove Reber’s shoes, I decided to check him out.
I discovered Tilian’s previous band, Tides of Man – which was pretty good, and then his solo stuff which blew me away. Usually when singers of post-hardcore bands release solo music, they head in the acoustic/folk singer-songwriter direction but not Tilian. His songs were super poppy and catchy. I was amazed at how versatile this guy was with his voice and songwriting ability. That put Tilian on the map for me.
Tides Of Man – Not My Love 2
Tilian – Waste My Time
It was only a few years later that I discovered he was the current singer for Dance Gavin Dance, so I decided to give them another shot when they released the video for Betrayed By The Game. That was all it took to get me hooked onto the band. I can’t remember how many weeks it was, but I spent almost every waking hour with that song on repeat. When the album Mothership came out, I devoured that album as well. Eventually, I started exploring all their older albums and realized how much I missed out on. When Summertime Gladness was released, that song single-handedly cemented them as one of my greatest bands of all time.
Dance Gavin Dance – Betrayed By The Game
Dance Gavin Dance – Summertime Gladness
It’s hard to explain what Dance Gavin Dance sounds like. On one hand you could label them as typical – heavy guitars, high-pitched wails, brutal screams and double pedal drums – all staples of the post-hardcore genre. On the other hand, they’re stand out from other bands of the genre – funky jazz chords, random lyrics with the occasional rap verses and dancey breakdowns. If there’s one thing this band isn’t, it’s predictable. It’s amazing how often their songs change their tone and style without any warning (from song to song and within the songs themselves). It keeps you on your toes and makes you wonder what comes next (unless you’ve listened to their album for the umpteenth time like me).
Another aspect of the band that people miss out are Jon Mess’s lyrics. Usually most people don’t pay attention to the screaming vocals because they are usually just the clean vocals repeated, or lines which emphasize what is being sung, the screaming lyrics in Dance Gavin Dance songs are literally nonsense. From lines like ‘Cocaine cringe fest’ to words like ‘butthole’ being used in their songs, it’s hard to tell what goes through Mess’ head when he writes those lines. Regardless, it’s a treat to listen to and scream along with when you’re listening to their music. Also, any band that sings ‘I’m in the middle of a midnight mass and everybody on my dick like preacher, preacher’ is worth listening to.
Dance Gavin Dance – Inspire The Liars
Here’s some of my other favorite Dance Gavin Dance songs (obviously biased towards the Tilian era because he was what got me into the band in the first place):
Dance Gavin Dance – That’s What I Like
Dance Gavin Dance – We Own The Night
Dance Gavin Dance – Strawberry Swisher Pt.1
Dance Gavin Dance – Flossie Dickey Bounce
Dance Gavin Dance – Chocolate Jackalope
Dance Gavin Dance – Uneasy Hearts Weigh The Most
Dance Gavin Dance – Burning Down the Nicotine Armoire Pt.2