New Music Monday: Dreamcar (Live at Irving Plaza 5/19)

Written by | New Music Alert, Show Review

Words By Guest Writer: Rae Lemeshow

In what would appear to be one of the strangest odd couples to date, seemingly no one would suspect AFI front-man, Davey Havok, to join forces with No Doubt’s, Adrian Young, Tony Kanal, and Tom Dumont, to make 80’s inspired pop-rock—but that’s just what Dreamcar is. Back when the super-group was first announced, it was certainly hard to believe; with two conflicting genres now in one band, what would the sound be like? Would Dreamcar become an abandoned project or rumor? When lead single ‘Kill For Candy’ was released, its neon aesthetic and undeniably retro sound (upon first listen Duran Duran came to mind) was an unexpected treat that I knew I had to see live.

As a fan of Havok’s projects as well as No Doubt, I was beyond excited as I stood in the crowd to see Dreamcar during their short first tour. Having been raised on 80’s music, I have been quite fond of the resurgence of popular New Wave tropes in music; however, I had yet to have seen a band make a full commitment to the era. Musically, I knew what to expect from Dreamcar—their album had been released shortly before the show and referenced artists from ABC to The Cure; it was the opening band, Superet, that caught me off guard. The group had no music streaming other than their debut single ‘Pay It Later’—an alt rock number with almost robotic vocals, and for that matter, no one seemed to know them for that reason.

When Superet took the stage, I, as well as the direct crowd around me, was impressed. For a group so new, the band took the stage with presence that seemed to come naturally through the semi-obvious nerves that would show via the front-man—whose identity I still haven’t been able to find for sure. With music that seemed to be more Oingo Boingo meets 90’s garage rock, Superet left me dancing and hopeful for their future releases, despite a Jim Morrison-like theatrical breakdown—but hey, it’s all apart of the show.

The anticipation for Dreamcar grew, from my spot in the front row we saw instruments slowly being revealed: a red glitter drum set, a neon pink and yellow bass, a vintage powder blue guitar—all of which were very on point for the band’s retro brand. This brand of course, culminated when the group came out, and most notably with Davey Havok, who in his theatrical finest, wore a full pink suit with pink velvet creepers to complete the look. The special thing about Dreamcar that sets it apart from other super-groups is definitely their commitment. Rather than relying on their legacies as musicians, the members of Dreamcar delivered authenticity at every turn. For example, rather than rely on backing tracks, the group hired two absolutely wonderful backup singers to aid in percussion. From what I could tell, there were no backing tracks at all—just a pure, authentic sound from musicians that truly know their craft and continue to master it.

Through the night, the group performed every song off of their debut (with dedicated fans already singing along), as well as covers of Bowie’s ‘Moonage Daydream’ and INXS’s ‘Don’t Change’, which as a huge fan of both late singers was a meaningful moment for me.

I could go on for ages about Dreamcar—their album, their show, even their artistic direction, but the most important thing to note, is their dedication. They are all true musicians, and as Dreamcar they’re not trying to ‘make it’ or sell a record—they have no need to in a room filled with people from all walks of life wearing No Doubt and AFI shirts. They are Dreamcar because they love music, all music, and they love testing their creative abilities, and in the end, isn’t that rare passion worth the price of a ticket? I’d highly recommend seeing the group if you have the chance—you’ll be treated to a wave of nostalgia, a great show, and a group that can only refine their sound from here.

Last modified: May 29, 2017