Dance Gavin Dance in Indianapolis

The All Stars Tour has been making its way across the country for the past month and although Indiana wasn’t lucky enough to snag an official tour date a few of the bands from the lineup recently made an appearance at the Emerson Theater while the tour’s headlining band Upon A Burning Body played a set at Dirtfest in Michigan. Local up-and-comers Salience started the night off with a bang when they managed to get the entire room on their feet from the very first note. The band announced they would be filming a music video that night and wanted to see some energy in the crowd, a request the audience seemed more than happy to fulfill. For a younger band this was pretty impressive considering most local shows often have to deal with a relatively dead audience for the first half of the lineup, but the guys in “Salience” definitely know how to work a crowd. Keeping the local game running strong, Crunkasaurus Rex hit the stage next, and they came bearing gifts in the form of live performances of new material plus a handful of copies of their new album which fans were able to grab a full week before the release date. If you haven’t yet experienced the joyful insanity that is Crunkasaurus Rex you might be tempted to write them off due to their seemingly ridiculous name, but this would be a grave mistake. Far from being a flash-in-the-pan joke band, they stand a good chance of being one of the strongest bands to emerge from the Indianapolis scene. Crunkasaurus Rex’s music is all at once brutal and adorable- like some crazy explosion of Owl City, Relient K, Underoath, and Breathe Carolina. What’s even more incredible is just how good the band sounds live. Listening to their recorded material it sounds like something that could be difficult to replicate live, but to their credit they pull it off flawlessly. With their August 2015 release “Sayonara” this just might be the year the rest of the region discovers the greatness that is Crunkasaurus Rex. Chasing Safety clearly had their work cut out for them having to follow such an impressive set by a local band, but they came out with guns blazing and didn’t let up until the last note, leaving fans almost in a state of shock. To call vocalist Johnny Gailvan‘s energy “explosive” would be an understatement. Imagine Buddy Nielsen of Senses Fail on steroids, and you might be approaching the territory that Gailvan was operating in as he navigated the spectrum of showmanship, hitting every stop between hilarious and terrifying. Whether he was lifting pre-teen audience members to the stage in an effort to give them their first crowd-surfing experience, borrowing hats and glasses from fans, climbing the speakers, or launching not just one but two backdrops into the crowd, Gailvan certainly kept everyone’s attention. While such a volatile stage show was fascinating to watch a point eventually came where it started to feel as though it was taking away from the music. If you walk away from a set wondering if members of the band had an energy drink or two before the set, that’s probably a sign of a good show. If, however, you find yourself briefly questioning whether bath salts could have been involved, well, that might be a sign the energy was a bit too high. SoCal rock band Dayshell, fronted by former Of Mice & Men bassist Shayley Bourget, followed Chasing Safety. This was the only point in the night where it felt like a slight hiccup in energy occurred. After Crunkasaurus Rex and Chasing Safety put on such stellar shows Dayshell just seemed to get kind of lost in the mix. That being said, the music itself was solid, sounding like a cross between Deftones and 30 Seconds To Mars, and it will be a real treat to follow this band as they continue to evolve. As the crew prepared the stage for Dance Gavin Dance fans inched their way up to the front and cheered wildly when guitarist Will Swan walked out to continue setting up his gear. At long last the lights went down and the rest of the band emerged, sending fans into a frenzied state of bliss. In a feat that seems near impossible, singer Tilian Pearson’s vocals actually seem higher live than they do on the band’s studio albums- so much so that at times it’s as though his voice just becomes another instrument throwing out notes that most humans couldn’t come close to hitting. Although their 12-song set primarily featured songs off of 2015’s Instant Gratification, the rest of the set was well-rounded, featuring Given the band’s numerous lineup changes since their inception, it’s impressive that the material succeeds in a live setting as well as it does. One of the highlights of their set was the performance of “The Robot with Human Hair Pt. 4” off Acceptance Speech, the second to last installation of an epic 5 and a half song series spread across the band’s catalog. Since Dance Gavin Dance was headlining the show, the Indianapolis crowd was treated to two older tracks, “Lemon Meringue Tie” from 2008’s Downtown Battle Mountain and “Carl Barker” off 2009’s Happiness. As a whole the night was a huge success. It’s easy to book a show with a mind-blowing headlining act and then just throw on a bunch of random bands to act as support, but this was one of those magical shows where pretty much everyone was bringing the heat- from the very first band to the headliner. It’s hard to imagine a single fan walking out of the venue even the least bit disappointed. -Ashley Adcox [lg_slideshow folder=\”2015/Dance Gavin Dance in Indy/Salient/\”] [lg_slideshow folder=\”2015/Dance Gavin Dance in Indy/Dayshell/\”] [lg_slideshow folder=\”2015/Dance Gavin Dance in Indy/Chasing Safety/\” ][lg_slideshow folder=\”2015/Dance Gavin Dance in Indy/Crunkasaurus Rex/\”] [lg_slideshow folder=\”2015/Dance Gavin Dance in Indy/Dance Gavin Dance /\”]