Dance Gavin Dance @ Irving Plaza

NEW YORK, NY—The Downtown Battle Mountain Tour packed Irving Plaza with fans from all over the scene spectrum. You had your usual scene kids, metalcore fans, punk rock kids and even those more in tune with the hip-hop world. It was a good mix of bands that meshed well with each other and you knew the stars of the night were headliners Dance Gavin Dance, whose music feeds any kind of music lover.

I had heard good things about Just Like Vinyl, the new project of former Fall Of Troy guitarist, Thomas Erak. I was too late for what I heard was a set that apparently did not disappoint fans of his previous band. That also meant I was too late for Close to Home. Walking in, In Fear and Faith were on stage and it was a treat to catch a song or two from them as they have grown on me over the past year and a half.

Iwrestledabearonce took over the crowd in a fury. Below, a couple pits opened up with even female fans joining in, raising hell alongside their male counterparts. Somewhat of a rare sight, but given the singer for the band is a woman, it then becomes unsurprising. Vocalist Krysta Cameron is a beast on stage with her guttural growls and Bjork-like singing. All that with the music coming from her bandmates kept the floor moving the whole set.

The stage was engulfed in a white haze from all the lights for the first part of the set, turning into a full rainbow light spectacle by the end. Their set moved quickly, managing to play a new song. I basically couldn’t make out much of what was being screamed into the microphone, but the fans below did. However, I did recognize the last song’s title, “Tastes Like Kevin Bacon,” and died with amusement, as I’m a sucker for clever titles.

Dance Gavin Dance’s show began not when the music did but when fans caught sight of the band helping to set up. The chanting began with ‘Dance Gavin Dance’ said over and over until the fans moved on to ‘Jon fucking Mess!’ You could see band members walking around, sound checking, setting up the drum kit and waving to fans. The excitement was building up, waiting to hear songs off the new album, Downtown Battle Mountain II, as well as songs not performed by this line up in years from their 2007 release, Downtown Battle Mountain.

The new album was recorded with the original lineup, minus one guitarist and the tour was also missing their original bassist. So if you were expecting all familiar faces, there were two new ones helping out on the tour. It was forgivable though, with the majority of the focus on the dynamic between the voices of both returning screamer Jon Mess and singer Jonny Craig.

They started with “Lemon Meringue Tie,” and were just explosive. Any fan of both albums and especially someone like me who hadn’t seen them live when Downtown Battle Mountain came out, was completely satisfied by the set they played. There were some moments of awkwardness, feeling as if they all had just met right before this show. You knew they were individually into the music, but I couldn’t tell what the feeling was collectively.

Before you knew it, they were ending on “Heat Seeking Ghost Of Sex” and with Craig waiting till this song to announce his voice was hurting him, something I’ve come to expect from him. That was the last song before the encore, where the intro from Downtown Battle Mountain played, bleeding into “And I Told Them I Invented Times New Roman,” as on the album. One complaint still hits—the set was too short. I guess this leaves fans having to wait till Warped Tour to see them again.