LIVE REVIEW: Dance Gavin Dance, Tree City Sessions Volume 2 (Live Stream), 19/12/2020
As was the case with their previous live album, Tree City Sessions, re-recording songs from your back catalogue can actually prove to be a good idea. Well, the guys in Dance Gavin Dance clearly knew that they did something right with it, because earlier this month they live streamed what will soon become their second live offering; Tree City Sessions Volume 2.
While both share the desire to perform tracks from the band’s past and to offer them with a fresh coat of paint, the difference between the two is that for the sequel, Dance Gavin Dance decided to broadcast it live for everyone to watch, as well as allowing fans to vote which songs they thought should be on the setlist. To top it all off, the Sacramento natives managed to close down traffic and play the hour-long set smack-dab in the middle of the Sacramento Tower Bridge, which proved to be a very fitting and unique setting for a live streamed concert.
Kicking it off with The Backwards Pumpkin Song, Dance Gavin Dance were firing on all cylinders. Featuring songs from all of their studio releases thus far, from their self-titled debut Dance Gavin Dance up to 2020’s Afterburner, all eras of the band’s history were spoken for. Current vocalist Tilian Pearson offered faithful renditions of his predecessors’ vocal performances on tracks such as NASA or Blue Dream, originally sung by Kurt Travis and Jonny Craig, respectively.
Eidola’s Andrew Wells (who by now should become a permanent member of the band) performed alongside the Sacramento five all throughout the show. His rhythm playing would reinforce Will Swan’s shredding guitars and leads, while sprinkling in some backing harmonies here and there or whole verses in the tracks that officially feature him, as well as joining Pearson on co-lead vocals on classic track Uneasy Hearts Weigh the Most – three-part harmonies between the two and Jon Mess never sounded better. Speaking of Mess, the screamer’s stage persona stole the entire show, constantly jumping around the circular stage – a very welcome change of pace from his usually tamer performances.
Alongside the aforementioned older songs were some more recent, albeit less-played tracks, such as Stroke God, Millionaire off of Instant Gratification, Afterburner’s Nothing Shameful and Mothership’s Man of the Year, joined up by fan-favourites such as Inspire the Liars, Son of Robot, Evaporate or Summertime Gladness. These are always a joy to witness being performed, even in this virtual fashion, and they flow well between one another thanks to some interludes which were actually quite soothing for what they were.
In the end, Dance Gavin Dance put on a highly enjoyable show, one which made viewers forget that they were watching a live-streamed performance, due to how entertaining it was. You could tell that the members were having fun too, since they kept exchanging laughs and smiles all throughout the concert. The fact that the whole production, from lighting design to sound engineering and mixing were all on point didn’t hurt the experience either. All we can do now is wait with baited breath for the day when Tree City Sessions Volume 2 will be available on Spotify. We’ll just go restart their whole discography from the top again in the meantime; don’t mind us.
Written by: Florin Petrut