Any tour story in 2021 is a story of perseverance, with not just any band able and willing to take on the challenge of navigating a full tour when COVID is still a thing. But Dance Gavin Dance, based in Sacramento, Calif., Is not just any band.
“We were in a very unique situation, the way the group is made up, there are either people in the team or in the group who can change roles and step in and do other things,” explains the manager Derek Brewer of Shelter Management. “And, while it’s not ideal at all, we can do shows with just one singer. “
Danse Gavin Dance was forced to do just that, as the group’s two vocalists, co-founder Jon Mess, who does the “scream” vocals, and the more recent addition Tilian Pearson, who does the “clean” vocals. for the difficult parts -class a group with prog and emo tendencies, fell with COVID during a tour. Members of the support groups – Veil of Maya and Eidola – also stepped in, learning parts between a group’s performances and a style of music that can only be described as difficult to play and an acquired taste.
“If we didn’t have these abilities, which you don’t see in a lot of bands, certainly more shows wouldn’t have been the best experience for the fans,” Brewer adds, referring to the one show that was forced to do so. ‘be canceled at the last minute in Saint-Louis, the two singers descending or recovering from COVID.
This was before I even mentioned that the band’s drummer Matt Mingus had to leave the tour early for rehab when it became apparent he was not fit to perform at the band’s concert in. Detroit. With the backing of MusiCares and a talented drum technician named Dakota Sammons, able to jump in quickly, even that couldn’t stop the band. And, while you might not be able to please everyone, and negative comments on social media can sometimes be a vocal minority, most fans don’t even care.
“The response from the crowd has been overwhelmingly positive and [the tour] has been a lot more successful than I thought, ”said the group’s Jon Mess, who, ahead of the tour as the Delta variant grabbed the headlines, believed it would end up being canceled at some point. “Overall it was great, but it was really difficult. I just hope for future tours we can hopefully get past them. Because if every tour was like the one we just did, it would be very difficult to tour every year. ”
Dance Gavin Dance’s ‘2021 Afterburner Tour’, which initially went on sale in 2019, continues to grow steadily as its biggest title to date, with over 78,500 tickets moved to 33 shows in September and October , with four upgraded shows in larger and sold-out venues on both coasts at major clubs. As more “firsts” continue to emerge from the pandemic, the “Afterburner” tour is one of the first large-scale indoor tours from coast to coast to take place since COVID.
“Honestly, other than the things we couldn’t control like COVID and disease, the tour as a whole went so well. It’s with us that we deal with understaffed venues and a lot of uncertainty, ”says Pike, who notes that there have been very few refunds despite the shows having been booked four times. “Especially when you find yourself in a different city and state every day, with different restrictions and policies, and we had to play by all the rules. That the sites were able to just take care of us was a big thing. These shows were not small. We were really lucky the result was what it was.
Even with everything from the team to the catering, lined up as perfectly as possible, there is no show without the group being healthy enough to perform and not at risk of spreading to other members and to the crowd. ‘team. Thank the quick-thinking team for doing whatever they can to keep the show going, which means becoming public health experts or de facto nurses in this case.
“I’m not a doctor or anything like that, but I can tell you between the monoclonal antibodies, being vaccinated, and we got other drops like vitamin C which I think, were mostly therapeutic, these guys only tested negative a few days later, with multiple tests, ”adds Brewer, who says the tour made vaccination mandatory for everyone on tour and was 100% compliant. %. “Looking back, I think it turned out to save dates that could have been a lot worse.”
Guinea pigs or not, that seemed to work.
“I probably did 50 tests,” Mess says. “We made the monoclonal antibodies; some cities had them and you could come in and get them. So you do the scales or not, depending on your test or how you were feeling, and then you go get an IV somewhere. Doctors came to the scene and gave us different IV drip, we had a NAD drip which I honestly don’t even know what it does but it was supposed to put something in your body when you were younger or kill something or you beat something out, and vitamin C and other concoctions that you might order.
“In the end, our spending was crazy because we weren’t holding back,” Mess says. “It was either spending a lot of money to keep everyone healthy or the tour was canceled. It was the best option.
Dance Gavin Dance is looking forward to presenting their second Swan Fest – named after band co-founder and guitarist Will Swan – at Heart Health Park in the band’s hometown of Sacramento in late April, which has also been rescheduled several times thanks to COVID. . The event’s 2019 debut outside of Anaheim Grove surprised many when it sold 7,500 tickets. Mess says that’s to be expected for the group, which has come a long way from selling 100-200 tickets at its lowest point to planning another round of secondary markets for spring 2022.
“There’s always been a kind of ‘we have to prove ourselves’ mentality in this band,” Mess said, adding that some might cite pent-up demand as a reason for this tour’s success, with around $ 18 per person. head also sold on merch. “So now we’re saying next time when there’s no pandemic, we’ll sell the venue, everyone will show up and we’ll really prove it,” he laughs.