Live Review: Dance Gavin Dance @ The Forum, Melbourne

13 November 2023 | 1:50 pm | Tim Price

There was not a single moment to stop and take a breath, with the band smashing through the set at break-neck pace.

Dance Gavin Dance

Dance Gavin Dance (Credit: Lindsey Byrnes)

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There surely were some folks feeling some kind of bewilderment/confusion on Sunday night in Melbourne as the Dance Gavin Dance tour kicked off alongside special guests Nothing More, with nary a Nothing More to be seen. While it was a MAJOR bummer to have travelled to Melbourne to see this show and specifically Nothing More, once I was there, it all went out the window – the concert tonight lost NOTHING (more).

The US heavy alternative/progressive act announced only at the 11th hour that the Australian Government did not approve their Visas and would not be making it to our shores, and Closure in Moscow and Destroy All Lines announced that Closure would be joining the show, with Heartline opening. 

While it’s ALWAYS a welcome sight to see Closure in Moscow on line-ups, it was definitely a disappointment that Nothing More was not joining – this reviewer was fanging to see them, as it has been since 2015’s Soundwave since they’ve been here - and two entire album cycles. Who knows when they will return!? 

It was a welcome sight to this Queensland-based reviewer to be rocking up to a venue while the sun was still up thanks to Daylight Savings, and once inside (first time at The Forum – WHAT A VENUE!), Heartline have the already heaving crowd jumping and on board with what was to come. Heartline were definitely the most “straight down the line” metal/metalcore on the bill, but by no means is that a criticism. It is admittedly a long while in between drinks seeing Heartline, but they have come a long way in the live arena and held their own on this bill. The production quality was tip-top, and they worked the crowd like pros. It’s unfortunately over before we know it, and it’s time for Closure in Moscow.

It's not lost on me that I attended this show with a long-time friend who was the person who took me to Big Day Out 1999 and showed me a whole new world of music – the very event that kick-started my love of live music – and in this case, I was bringing him along to show him bands that I now love. A very nice closing of a loop, to be sure, and specifically to show him Closure in Moscow, giving him the context that I have seen Closure in Moscow in MANY MANY settings over the years since their First Temple album cycle in 2009. 

I have seen them on festival line-ups, I have seen them as support to bands in theatres, I have seen them headline theatres, I have seen them play in regional towns and pubs, and metro clubs, and I have seen them amaze crowds, I have seen them play to a crowd who didn’t “get” them, despite their best efforts to win them over, I have seen them win over crowds by the end of a set, and everything in between. Sunday night’s show was genuinely the best I had ever seen them. It’s pretty amazing that they are at the top of their game at this point in their career and that their proficiency, quirkiness and good-natured Aussie-ness are still there in SPADES.

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They ripped out two brand newies to kick off, opening with the energetic Jaeger Bomb, and Christopher de Cinque captivated the audience from the first note. Another new track, Primal Sinister, followed, with a slight worry of “Are we going to get a very new album heavy set tonight?” setting in. 

The answer was given immediately following, with a trio of First Temple tracks kicking the set into high gear - A Night at the Spleen, Sweet#hart, and Kissing Cousins showcased Closure's ability to balance technical proficiency with emotionally resonant lyrics and the timeless nature of what is surely one of Australia’s greatest progressive rock albums. 

Lovelash (with this being the VERY first time the song was performed live) and Neoprene Byzantine continued the journey through the set, with the band's progressive and experimental elements shining through. The set reached a climactic point with the performance of Pink Lemonade, and closing their set with Happy Days, the band left a lasting impression on the Melbourne crowd – and, dare I say it, won over many new fans in the process.

Dance Gavin Dance's performance at Melbourne's Forum Theatre on Sunday was a CRACKING ride along their catalogue and career today, and they didn’t muck about hitting the stage and showcasing their eclectic style and mastery of the stage. The setlist was a carefully curated journey through the band's diverse discography, providing a balanced mix of fan favourites and newer tracks.

They opened with The Ghost of Billy Royalton, a tribute to late bassist Tim Feerick, who passed away unexpectedly last year. They released the song in August, citing that they put it out so that they could play it on this Jackpot Juicer tour. The band wasted no time diving into the energetic set in earnest with Feels Bad Man, Synergy and Head Hunter. Tilian Pearson's vocals soared effortlessly over complex rhythms. 

The mid-set highlights included Tree Village and Count Bassy, showcasing the band's ability to seamlessly blend progressive rock elements with post-hardcore aggression (with quite a few circle pits opening up at various moments, reminding punters that as well as all the progressive and exciting twists and turns in the music, they are, at their centre, a hardcore band). The performance of Chucky vs. The Giant Tortoise was a particular standout, with its infectious energy and the unmistakable chemistry between the band members.

Dance Gavin Dance demonstrated their versatility as the set progressed with the emotionally charged Care and the anthemic Die Another Day. The crowd's energy reached a peak during the encore, where the band delivered a one-two punch with We Own the Night and the epic Evaporate.

There was not a single moment to stop and take a breath, with the band smashing through the set at break-neck pace. Having seen Dance Gavin Dance on their previous AU tour, this setlist absolutely demolished that show!


The Ghost of Billy Royalton
Feels Bad Man
Head Hunter
For the Jeers
Cream of the Crop
Tree Village
Count Bassy
Chucky vs. The Giant Tortoise
Young Robot
Die Another Day

We Own the Night