SAN FRANCISCO — Dance Gavin Dance explored the breadth of its influence at the beginning of the band’s North American tour at The Regency Ballroom.
Its ambitious blend of heavy progressive rock and post-hardcore is uniquely its own with the way Tilian Pearson and Jon Mess balance and contrast different vocal techniques. High-pitched singing by Pearson and Mess’ guttural screams, as Will Swan covered them with funky guitar grooves, created an amalgam of sounds that perfectly fit with the band’s rhythmic stuff.
Dance Gavin Dance opened with “Son of Robot” and “Suspended in This Disaster,” from 2018’s Artificial Selection, with concertgoers singing and crowdsurfing along. “Summertime Gladness,” a 2017 single, and Artificial Selection’s “The Rattler” and “Count Bassy” came next.
With Mess’ and Pearson’s vocal dissonance, funky metal guitar riffs, Tim Feerick’s post-hardcore bass, and Matthew Mingus’ drum fills, the group delivered some really poppy melodies. Songs like “Chucky vs. The Giant Tortoise” and “Flossie Dickey Bounce,” off 2016’s Mothership and “Uneasy Hearts Weigh the Most,” off their 2008 self-titled record, showed that the group has stayed true to its multifaceted sound over the years. New single “Head Hunter” affirmed this.
Fans’ intensity increased with the groovy jams and upbeat guitar licks on “We Own the Night” and “Man of the Year.” Dance Gavin Dance returned for an encore that included “Evaporate,” its mellow chorus contrasting the extreme verses and creating a dynamic melody to close the show.
Washington, D.C.’s Periphery went into the extremes of metal during its set, cranking out highly distorted guitars and atmospheric reverb as Spencer Sotelo’s gnarly vocal range went from high-pitched to clean vocals and wrenching screams.
Its set started with guitarist Misha Mansoor’s polyphonic grooves on “The Bad Thing,” from 2015’s Juggernaut: Omega, followed by new cut “Garden in the Bones,” from upcoming release, Hail Stan. “The Way the News Goes…” off 2016’s Periphery III: Select Difficulty demonstrated some of the band’s other virtuous capacities, using cleaner rhythmic guitars by Jake Bowen and Mark Holcomb. In unison, Mansoor, Bowen and Holcomb created chill atmospheres that would transform into death metal blast thanks to drummer Matt Halpern’s radical beats.
Periphery continued with “Marigold” and “Mile Zero,” showing a stricter djent sound full of chugging guitars and dense layers of polyphonic grooves. Standing out were Sotelo’s catchy vocals, showing the remarkableness of his capacities.
The set continued with the heavily distorted and syncopated riffs of “Blood Eagle,” and concluded with the melodic “Masamune.”
British rockers Don Broco, led by Rob Damiani’s charismatic vocals, presented a blend of different sounds ranging from post-hardcore to alt-pop rhythms and even some nu-metal and rap influences. All of this was fused with clean and screamed vocals, giving its set a heightened energy.
The band played songs from 2018’s Technology, including “Everybody,” “Stay Ignorant” and “Come Out to LA.” Older cut “You Wanna Know,” from 2016’s Automatic, stepped away from the Brit rock riffs and took on modern metal rhythms mixed with electronic sounds. Don Broco ultimately closed with “T-Shirt Song” and “Pretty.”
Progressive post-hardcore outfit Hail the Sun gave an incredibly dynamic performance. Vocalist Donovan Melero was on point at the mic and with his stage moves and presence, while guitarist Aric Garcia helped on melodies and harmonies.
The blend of different sounds and rhythms was present on older cuts like “Relax / Divide” and “Human Target Practice,” and newer ones like “Glass: Half Empty” and “Suffocating Syndrome.” The songs juggled post-hardcore influences with eclectic math rock guitar lines and even some screamo and metal. Hail the Sun’s balance of screams and clean vocals, as well as complex guitar riffs, recalled Dance Gavin Dance’s sound and were a perfect fit for the bill.
Bay Area math rock trio Covet, led by Yvette Young’s technical double-hand-tapping guitar playing style, created a chill atmosphere to open the concert, prog and math rock. Her layers of modulated delays and reverb meshed into David Adamiak’s deep bass lines and Forrest Rice’s offbeat drum fills, keeping things sharp and in perfect harmony. The band’s set included songs like “Shibuya,” “Howl” and “Glimmer,” from 2018’s critically acclaimed Effloresce.