We recently attended the Philadelphia date of Dance Gavin Dance’s “The Mothership Tour” to take some pictures and write a review. You can check out everything, after the break.
Dance Gavin Dance are currently on The Mothership Tour supporting their new record, “Mothership”, and brought a slew of heavy-hitting bands with them, including The Contortionist, Hail The Sun, Good Tiger, and The White Noise. Their sold-out show at Union Transfer in Philadelphia on October 8th left fans speechless (and voiceless) from start to finish.
It can be a daunting task to open a show of this caliber- odds are the crowd is there for one reason, the headline act- but The White Noise cold-started the Philadelphia crowd with ease. Frontman, Shawn Walker, confided to the mass of people in front of him that not all cities had been as receptive of their set, and it was obvious that this fueled the band’s performance. The music was heavy, the energy was high, and the punk-rock, crude-humor banter between songs felt welcome. As far as opening acts go, The White Noise impressed.
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Good Tiger followed, with the bar set high by their tour-mates. If it’s difficult to open a show and warm up a crowd, it’s even more challenging to do that after such an energetic first set. That being said, Good Tiger met par with their performance, delivering awesome grooves with top-notch vocals. The general atmosphere felt less frantic than with the opening set, so it may have been beneficial to switch the set order to build hype as the night progressed, but that’s not enough to leave a bad taste in your mouth. Good Tiger carried the show along well, and if anything, provided some breathing room to prepare for the hurricane that is Hail The Sun’s performance.
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For those who didn’t know Hail The Sun prior to their set, it might have been confusing to hear vocals soaring out from behind the drum kit, but that confusion quickly turns to amazement with the realization that Donovan Melero effortlessly fills the roles of both drummer and frontman. After bewildering the crowd with his multitasking, Melero hopped out from behind the kit to command the stage. Hail The Sun’s set was dynamic with faster and slower moments, but Melero utilized every second as an opportunity to explode in some drastic movement on stage, keeping the energy high. The band wrapped their set with Melero behind the kit once again, giving the crowd some sort of subconscious closure that the fun was over for now.
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After a long time of stage-prep, The Contortionist brought things to another level. The band eased into their set, with a dark stage, red lights, and haunting vocals building suspense and tension as well as it can be done in a live performance. It was apparent that the crowd didn’t know how to feel about the performance, that is until The Contortionist brought the heavy and instantly had the room moving. In retrospect, it seems like the band knew exactly what they were doing and put the crowd in the palm of their hands, controlling the mood with every aspect of their set. There were quite a few strange, almost eerie moments that stuck out, but nothing was more impactful than when everything but synth-pads cut and vocalist, Michael Lessard, showcased his incredible voice- low by comparison to other bands on the bill, but pure. Their show was met with thunderous applause.
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Before the music even began, Union Transfer was filled with the deafening screams of fans adoring the members of Dance Gavin Dance walking out on stage. A crutches-bound Tilian hopped front-and-center and greeted the crowd with a wave and a quick smirk before quickly diving into their set. New life was breathed into the crowd as they surged toward the stage, jumping and waving to their favorite songs. The band performed in the way only a veteran-touring-band can manage, without a single flaw- or at least, not apparent to the crowd. Fans hung onto every word in each between-song-speech and erupted as the first note or drum hit signaled another five minutes of chaos. Dance Gavin Dance left the stage for no more than a minute before returning for a well-expected encore and were outdone by their fans pouring every last ounce of energy into singing the band’s words back to them. The night concluded on a high note, and not just the ringing in fans’ ears.
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If you’re planning on attending a show on this tour, expect your money’s worth. If you’re on the fence, definitely make the effort to try and find a ticket, you’ll probably regret missing this one.
Information about this review/gallery:
Tour – The Mothership Tour
Bands – Dance Gavin Dance, The Contortionist, Hail The Sun, Good Tiger, The White Noise
Photographer/Reviewer – David Lisowski
Date – October 8, 2016
Venue – Union Transfer in Philadelphia, PA