Dance Gavin Dance, Periphery Pack Vibes Outdoor Arena

SAN ANTONIO – Post-hardcore giants Dance Gavin Dance ran through the Alamo City with djent favorites Periphery at the Vibes Event Center for their Artificial Selection tour.

It was a hot and humid day in San Antonio, the forecast told of thunderstorms in the area. Luckily, there were no storms just a large crowd of about 3,500 packed on a singular lot with a large amount of individuality that was so diverse. Children, women, and men of all shapes in sizes ready to hear some great live music outdoors.

Newly developed outside the Vibes Event Center is their new, “Vibes Outdoor Arena.” While that may not be the official name, I’m officially calling it that because the sound was crystal clear and each band that performed onstage sounded phenomenal, their volume even topped the sounds of the trains that would pass by occasionally.

Joining Dance Gavin Dance for their Artifical Selection tour was Covet, Hail The Sun, Don Broco, and Periphery who most recently released their new album P4.

Hail The Sun threw an enigmatic set followed by British rockers Don Broco. Both bands share vivacious energy that resonates among the young fans of each band. Hail The Sun’s Donovan Melero is a world-class musician and songwriter. Seeing him perform the same night as DGD and Periphery really tied the tour together.

The anticipation was high, for me at least, to witness a Periphery live set. What made it more special was that they released their new album, ‘Periphery IV: HAIL STAN,’ the same night they performed. So I had not heard it.

Guitar genius and founder Misha Mansoor did not hold back from unrelenting guitar thrashing pairing alongside vocalist Spencer Sotelo for an unforgettable performance.

Midway through their fourth song, the band stopped playing abruptly and pointed in the direction of the large Alamo City crowd. Was there an emergency? Was somebody hurt? No. A young patron had lost her shoes.

“What’s going on? Are you ok? Are you hurt?” shouted Sotelo at the crowd. The guest raised both of her shoes above her head and the crowd collectively let out an audible, “WHAT!”

“Wow, we stopped the song for lost shoes?! Ok, you guys can boo them now,” Sotelo loudly exclaimed at the crowd. The crowd in unison let out a harmonious ‘boo.’

“Well, we’re going to have to skip to the next song, because of time.” shared Sotelo.

That whole event was wholesome because some bands that I’ve seen perform live would not give a shit about their fans being hurt. That just goes to show that Periphery while being world-class artists still have compassion enough to stop their show mid-song to ensure that the safety of its fans was the top priority. Salute to them.

For an hour long, Periphery shared some of their older material including some new songs off of Periphery: IV. Their album subtitle, ‘HAIL STAN’ is both a hilarious tongue-in-cheek nod of the prolific saying, ‘Hail Satan.’

I remember standing to the side of the photo pit entrance looking back towards the crowd and was in disbelief. The sheer amounts of people all the way toward the back of the lot was immense. It was a sea of fans and guests enjoying some loud tunes on a Saturday night. Beers in hand, cigarettes in tow, guests were in the mosh and were enjoying and taking it all in.

As Periphery had closed their set, I stood patiently waiting in the photo pit as Dance Gavin Dance had finished setting up their gear.

A loud whoosh, followed by stage darkness took over the crowd as fans cheered loudly as Dance Gavin Dance took the stage. Most recently, a viral video of a security guard at a recent Dance Gavin Dance show went public as the video zoomed in close to his face and his apparent disgust at what was transpiring before him. The band enjoyed the video so much that DGD frontman shared the video on his twitter calling the security guard, “a legend.”

One thing I enjoy about Dance Gavin Dance is the longevity and unique musicianship they put into each record they produce. It’s not a hard thing to say that the career transformation of Dance Gavin Dance leading up to where they are today is astonishing. They consistently put out energetic and high-quality records. Their most recent Artificial Selection is a modern twist on the classic Dance Gavin Dance sound. The standout song to me, ‘Count Bassy’ just showcases how diverse and intelligent they are as a group when writing music.

I’ve seen just about every incarnation of the band since the late ’00s including their stints with original singer Jonny Craig, their second singer Kurt Travis, and now with their singer Tilian Pearson.

Pearson really is a standup guy and has such a great voice live and on record. One memory that stands out to me, is back in 2015 I saw them perform alongside SA band Upon A Burning Body, IWrestledABearOnce(RIP), and more.

I was standing near the photo pit entrance backstage and saw Pearson as he was waiting to take the stage. I asked him, “yo man, are you ready?” Pearson looked at me confused and calmly said, “hey man, are you fucking with me or something?”

My head nodding side-to-side said more than I could put into words. Eventually, I said, “No dude, we’re all stoked to see you live, so kick ass.”  Brandishing a subtle smile, Pearson walked onstage and the rest was history.

Will Swan’s guitar work live is something to see live at least once if you get the chance. He doesn’t hold back from unique guitar melodies, solos, and more. On top of that, the icing and cherry on the cake are Jon Mess’s vocals and lyricism.

Mess is known for writing the most absurd lyrics but they sound amazing along with the melodies and music all put together. Here are a couple of choice lyrics that Jon Mess wrote and performed with DGD.

“Did I get something in your eye? He’s a referee, and I’m lethally overdosed on pumpkin pie,” from their song Pounce Bounce off of their 2011 album, ‘Downtown Battle Mountain II.’

“Ask me, I’m fine or I will be. I got a bullet-proof vest on and the cure for AIDS and a pill that makes me happy,” from their song ‘Me and Zoloft Get Along Just Fine’ off of their 2008 self-titled album.

Dance Gavin Dance put on a show to remember and one hell of a way to kick off the start of the Vibes Event Center — Vibes Outdoor Arena. Until next time, San Antonio.

This article was originally published on News 4 San Antonio.