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Dance Gavin Dance @ Melkweg, Amsterdam

CONCERT REVIEW: Dance Gavin Dance Make Triumphant Return To The Netherlands

After years of absence, Dance Gavin Dance finally returned to The Netherlands for their biggest show on Dutch soil to-date. Originally, the band was supposed to play in Amsterdam in 2020 after the release of Afterburner, but due to the pandemic this was rescheduled again and again. Now, in March of 2023, the band released yet another new album Jackpot Juicer and came to The Netherlands for the first time since 2018.

Interesting to point out is that the original show was supposed to take place in Melkweg’s ‘upstairs’ room, which holds about 350 people. After this got rescheduled to 2022, the band got upgraded to the ‘oude zaal’ and also sold this out. After the most recent rescheduling due to health problems for vocalist Jon Mess, Dance Gavin Dance got upgraded to the Melkweg’s biggest room with a capacity of 1500 and damn near sold it out, too. Even in their absence in Europe, but with the continued release of outstanding music, Dance Gavin Dance‘s popularity have significantly increased throughout the years.

With 3 new albums since their last visit, the setlist was a beautiful mix of almost all of the albums that were released since vocalist Tilian Pearson joined the band (6 studio albums and counting) and even featured the popular stand-alone single Summertime Gladness, which the band released back in 2017. The excitement was instantenously when the band members walked on stage and surprisingly enough, the moshpit was never-ending. A lot of fans, including us, have been looking forward to this evening for a very, very long time.

Kicking things off with Artificial Selection album opener Son Of Robot, the tone was set for the evening. High energy, with lead vocalists Tilian Pearson and Jon Mess frequently trading off on verses and choruses. This was beautifully complimented by new addition Andrew Wells who takes on vocal parts on a lot of songs, with a lead on For The Jeers. The band’s very unique music results in a sound that is highly distinctive and instantly recognizable and a whole evening of that with appreciative and ecstatic fans in the moshpit is an evening we won’t soon forget.

Besides for the exceptional setlist and the band’s musical prowess, with a notable mention to Will Swan for his exquisite intricate guitar riffs, vocalists Jon Mess and Tilian Pearson entertained with the most unique dances. While Pearson’s moves could be described as fluid and graceful, often incorporating smooth and rhythmic movements into his performances that perfectly complement the music, Jon Mess’ dance moves had a more humurous aspect to them. Mess’ moves and his stage presence as a whole is known to be highly entertaining, as he interacts with the crowd and delivers his lyrics with an intense and frenzied energy. It surely has its perks to have 2 vocalists on stage without any instruments.

On this fine evening, Dance Gavin Dance even used the excitement of the crowd for their upcoming music video for Back On Deck, a song off of Jackpot Juicer that recently got some traction on alternative radio stations in the United States. The audience was asked to ‘act’ excited, as if it was not genuine and the fans happily obliged. The song really is not amongst the heaviest Dance Gavin Dance have to offer, but the excitement resulted into yet another moshpit which would last throughout the song. I’m sure that made for some usable footage for the upcoming music video.

In conclusion, Dance Gavin Dance have expanded their devoted fanbase in The Netherlands over the years, and their music succeeded in captivating an audience tonight that was substantially bigger than in 2018. Get a glimpse of what the show looked like in the gallery below and here’s to hoping the band won’t take another 5 years to return to The Netherlands.