Dance Gavin Dance’s highly anticipated Afterburner tour is officially in full swing after over a year and of waiting for the return of live shows. With the entire first leg of the tour nearly sold out, fans are showing their eagerness for the band’s reunion to the stage, along with special guests Wolf and Bear, Eidola, Veil of Maya, and Polyphia.
Last year, Dance Gavin Dance’s latest full-length hit the top of the charts for over a month, and broke the band’s personal sales records upon its release. Afterburner is set to have been the most popular album thus far, which is encouraging for fans new and old. Read our full album review here to see what we thought of it!
The Afterburner Tour will be hitting cities all over the United States throughout the remainder of September and October 2021, then will kick off shows again in the spring of 2022, with Swanfest taking place in the band’s home town of Sacramento, California.
On Friday, September 10th, The Afterburner Tour took over San Francisco’s Warfield Theatre, located just outside of the Tenderloin District. This grand dame of a theatre opened May 13, 1922. It was built by showman and theatre chain owner Marcus Loew, who named the showplace after his old friend David Warfield, a native San Franciscan who began as an usher and grew to be one of the greatest silent film actors of his time. The Warfield was built as a vaudeville and movie palace. See its full history here.
Beginning the evening, Wolf & Bear offered an electric and energetic blend of unclean and clean vocals that created a masterpiece of sound. Their math rock-esque guitars blended in with the local scene beautifully, as fans bonded with the band over their love for all things post-hardcore.
It feels good to be in California. We’ve been going here for years. It’s good to see some familiar faces. We’ve all been locked up for so long, let’s get down and let it all out.
~ Wolf & Bear
Up next, Eidola curated an incredibly emotional performance that was tangible in the air. The crowd swayed with the performers as they moved with all the pent up energy and released everything held within them over the last two years.
“It just feels so surreal,” lead guitarist, Sergio Medina, commented before the show. “I just feel like things are going to shut down again and want to take advantage of every second we are open.”
The band’s chemistry was evident throughout their set. Andrew and Sergio continued to play off each other’s energy as they released all their emotions onstage. Sergio himself skillfully plucked his instrument with so much ease it was as if he was just breathing. Andrew’s emotive vocals made for a relatable and memorable set.
As they prepared for the release of their next full-length album, The Architect (out on Friday, September 17th) they played singles new and old as the crowd watched in awe of their movements. Before the last song was played, lead vocalist, Andrew Wells, inspired the crowd with his words, clutching the microphone tightly.
Under the cover of dark we find our voices.
~ Andrew Wells
Following Eidola, Veil of Maya offered a performance that lifted the crowd’s energy to its peak. The vocals themselves could be felt within every fiber of your core as each member of the audience merged in with the crowd as one unit. Crowding in, swaying, and mosh-pitting to the beat, the experience left you eager and ready to embrace all the sweat and closeness of strangers like nothing before.
God d**n its been a long time.
Polyphia then joined the stage, a calm before the storm of the headliner as they offered smooth instrumental tunes that eased the crowd into a state of comfort. Circle pits occasionally formed, and when they did, it was at all angles, moving slower along as the audience began to feel the wear of the evening.
And concluding the night, our headliner raised a curtain for their big reveal as they joined the stage. By now, everyone in the crowd could feel that they’ve been standing for hours straight, mashed tighter than ever together as even more people poured in to get as close to the front row as possible.
Dance Gavin Dance soared across the stage with practiced ease, playing all their crowd favorites from Mothership, as well as the Afterburner hits that have had yet to be heard live from this crowd. The album cover shone and covered the entire back wall, depicting characters from the band’s concept of robots and animals coming together as one.
Tilian’s voice soared through the theater as Jon danced to the beat and harmonized with obscure unclean vocals. No words other than to thank each band individually. Lead vocalist of Eidola, Andrew, came in as a guest vocalist and guitarist as unofficial member of the band. Will Swan played effortlessly and skillfully.
And though the night wore on, the crowd was energetic to the end. Even as we grew weary we all pushed and swayed in the pit and embraced one another as if we’d known each other for years.