Dance Gavin Dance Played to a Divided Hardcore Crowd
To an outsider looking in Sunday night, Irving Plaza might have seemed like it was filled with a solitary and sullen youth. A line quite literally halfway down the block waited anxiously to see the likes of Alabama-based iwrestledabearonce and Dance Gavin Dance from Sacramento, CA. However, like many shows these days in the hardcore scene, what appears to be a united and amped-up crowd is exactly the opposite – clearly divided and not afraid to let people know. These kids are brought together by their passion for the music, but clashes between the old-school and new-school separate even the pit.
The first opener, Just like Vinyl (Ex-Fall of Troy frontman Thomas Erak’s new band), had a few things to say about life as a touring musician, ex-girlfriends, and knowing when to put yourself before others. Self-proclaimed “explosive guitar wild rock” hailing from Seattle, the quartet played songs off their debut self-titled album released in 2010. iwrestledabearonce’s own Krysta Cameron joined the guys with her heavy vocals much to the delight of the audience, after which her and Erak shared a pretty impressive hug.
Following up Just Like Vinyl was Cincinnati, OH band Close To Home, a five-piece group of sharply-dressed gents whose well-combed hair and A Day To Remember Vocals had a few of the new school kids showing off in the pit, but seemed to leave the rest wanting more. What was impressive was that they got In Fear and Faith’s Ramin Niroomand to fill in for their own broken-handed guitarist, and then go on to play another full-set with is own band all on a broken foot. This six-piece from San Diego, taking their name from a Circa Survive song, was just as interested in the crowd as the crowd was in them, with numbers like “The Road to Hell is Paved with Good Intentions” and “A Solitary Life,” to which they got everyone to two-step to.
Wasting no time, iwrestledabearonce took the stage backed by wild colors and blaring strobe lights, and managed to bring the attention back to one thing – going balls out. Almost in a sort of twisted time-warp, the band brought the noise with 80’s-style laser lights, bass breakdowns, and of course, Cameron’s own mix of deep screams and persistent melodies. Coupled with a game of “the floor is lava” and beach balls, they riled everyone up, especially with tracks off their 2009 full-length It’s All Happening, namely “You Ain’t No [God-Damned] Family.”
It definitely would not have been a Dance Gavin Dance show without the crowd egging Jonny Craig on a bit, with their “we want macbooks!” chant, to which he came out, arms raised and waving his hands, just shaking his head. He did not let that stop him from going all out, however, with his band bringing up the much-anticipated close of the lineup. Getting hot and sweaty, the crowd sang along to every breathless word of “And I Told Them I Invented Times New Roman,” off their first album Downtown Battle Mountain just as much as they did to “Spooks,” from Downtown Battle Mountain II. Dating back to 2005, these guys represent where hardcore came from and where it’s going, especially being related to acts like Ghost Runner on Third and Emarosa. With the New York City pits looking more and more like dance-offs and less like brawls, hopefully the old-school won’t be forgotten.
- Brittany Walsh
Dance Gavin Dance
In Fear and Faith
PHOTOS BY JOEL ARBAJE