Buying a ticket to the Afterburner Tour, headlined by Dance Gavin Dance and featuring Polyphia, Veil of Maya, Eidola, and Wolf & Bear is money spent well. This tour is like five tons of heavy music. Each band is a heavy-weight contender. It’s balanced with lots of talented guitarists and musicians — beautifully played sets that can be easily compared to or peeled right off their album cuts — lots of production elements, including Dance Gavin Dance’s synth tracks perfectly blending each song to the next. The lighting, as well as, the video imagery behind each band was crisp and enhanced the entertainment. It’s a visual show, to compliment the variety of musical styles, that delivers a full sensory experience.
Each band built on the next with their style and set. The sequencing of the line-up is thoughtful and works like a good movie building to a fever and climax at the end. It’s a relay race of fast, scorching, and instrument-based bands. A ton of guitar, bass, and drums. The show started promptly on time and Dance Gavin Dance pushed their performance right to the edge of curfew.
Clean versus screaming vocals and capable playing from the first two bands leads to djent Veil of Maya. Veil of Maya, metalcore, featuring Marc Okubo fire playing. Veil of Maya passes the baton to Polyphia for a 45-minute trap-based — they’re sometimes called progressive rock — which is boring — guitar soloing set. Tim Henson runs a school for aspiring guitarists — if he missed a note from the record, it’s because he added a brand new flair to even their latest New Levels New Devils tracks. Encouraging the crowd, “Sing-a-long, if you know this one.” It’s funny. They don’t have words or a singer for that matter.
Dance Gavin Dance was on their A-game on a Wednesday night in Denver, Colorado. At Mission Ballroom. They covered all the hits. Will Swan ran his fingers all over the fretboard. Swimming in a sonic bath, Tilian Pearson’s clean vocals are flawless. He can sing for sure. Jon Mess roughs up the act with his scream and the rest of the band was spotless clean playing, tight, and on point. Heck, Dance Gavin Dance barely stopped playing their entire set. It’s packed with music, but they did take the time to shout out each and every band on the tour. It’s a class act. This tour is a banger. It’s a great mixed tape of essential heavy music and also a great starter pack for fans just dipping their toes into the waters modern heaviness. Afterburner brings the sharks to one Olympic-sized pool. New fans will learn to swim quickly being dropped in this flow and old fans will appreciate — this is Dance Gavin Dance at their best and bringing out the best in their tour mates. It’s an ocean of big performances.
Dance Gavin Dance
Photos courtesy of Matthue Cole