LIVE: Dance Gavin Dance / Good Tiger / Jonny Craig @ The Underworld, Camden

By Christopher Lee

Dance Gavin Dance have been around for over 10 years and have seen their fare share of members come and go. On top of that, they haven’t played a UK show since 2013 so you might have been forgiven for wondering if we’d ever see them again. This tour however marks the tenth anniversary of the band and they’ve decided to celebrate in style.

First up  are two men, who will be very familiar to any fan of Dance Gavin Dance. Founding member and former vocalist Jonny Craig who is going to play us a few acoustic songs tonight, he’s flanked on guitar by the man who replaced him after his departure from the band in Kurt Travis and it’s like one big family reunion show. “We’re gonna get up here and play some songs, and you’re gonna like them,” Jonny says before opening with ‘Children of Divorce’ which gets the whole crowd singing along. From this point on, his relatively short set (of 4 songs) consists entirely of covers. These include ‘Rolling Stone’ by The Weekend, ‘Marvins Room’ by Drake and finishes with ‘Cry me a River’ by Justin Timberlake.

Sandwiched in between two former members of Dance Gavin Dance and the band themselves are Good Tiger, a band who made headlines back in 2015 when they set up a crowdfunding campaign to recuperate the money they’d spent from their own pocket to record their debut album. The band raised more than $18,000 in 24 hrs and smashed their target. Since then they’ve toured the globe and grown at a steady pace. Opening with ‘Snake Oil’ the catchy riffs and singer Elliot’s almost hypnotic vocals it’s an explosive opening and a far cry from the acoustic set that preceded it.  “Now that’s how you start a Good Tiger set,” Elliot exclaims. They follow this up with ‘I Paint What I See’ and ‘Aspirations’ from their debut album ‘A Head Full of Moonlight’ which seem pretty well received by the crowd. Up next is a brand new track in the form of ‘Float On’ a particularly melodic number which goes down a treat. Bringing their set to a close with a couple of more well-known numbers ‘All Her Own Teeth’ and ‘Where Are The Birds’ gives the crowd a little more energy and sees them start to move a lot more.

Now for the reason everyone’s here tonight. 10 years in the making. Dance Gavin Dance open to a packed venue with ‘Chucky vs. The Giant Tortoise’ from their latest album, ‘Mothership’. This is a band that as mentioned above have had more than their fair share of line-up changes, and with a decade long back catalogue but everyone is here to appreciate the institution that is Dance Gavin Dance. Up next is ‘Stroke God, Millionaire’ and the crowd have their singing voices in full swing now. ‘On The Run’ and ‘Strawberry Swisher Pt.3’ come and go as Tilian’s polished vocals guides the crowd through more recent numbers. We then jump back a few years for ‘Tree Village’ and ‘Carl Barker’ and back even further to 2008’s ‘Alex English’

It’s all rather nostalgic but that’s the aim of this evening. There’s a couple of recent tracks thrown into the setlist but for the majority it’s a journey through the last decade. Jonny Craig then joins the band on stage for ‘Spooks’ and the set ends with ‘Lemon Meringue Tie’ and ‘And I Told Them I Invented Times New Roman’ as the crowd lap up every minute. There’s a brief encore and when the band come back on stage they’ve got Jonny and Kurt in tow. The Stage is a bit cramped with everyone on it but the renditions of ‘Uneasy Hearts Weigh The Most’ and ‘We Own The Night’ are well worth it and with that the band departs for the last time tonight. The evening has served as a wonderfully nostalgic reminder of everything Dance Gavin Dance are and who knows maybe we’ll see them all again in another 10 years!