Featuring members of AFI & No Doubt, DREAMCAR make their SF debut at Great American Music Hall

DREAMCARBy Jared Stossel //

Great American Music Hall – San Francisco
April 9th, 2017 //

This was only their third show, yet for the headliner taking the stage known by the name of DREAMCAR, you would’ve thought that they’d been playing together for years. In a way, the four-piece has been, but the public hasn’t been able to witness its performances until now.

DREAMCAR, a new music project in the vein of 80’s new wave and modern alternative rock, is three parts No Doubt and one part AFI, with a lineup consisting of Davey Havok (vocals), Tom Dumont (guitar), Tony Kanal (bass) and Adrian Young (drums). If you’ve heard material from either band before, whether it’s AFI’s hardcore-punk-meets-goth-rock-infused stylings or No Doubt’s Orange-County-ska-meets-pop attitude, this side project is quite the departure from anything we’re used to. In fact, they sound incredible taking on this kind of music, and one wonders why they didn’t do it sooner.

Given that the band’s debut album doesn’t hit stores until May, we were only able to enter the doors of SF’s Great American Music Hall knowing the two singles that have been released so far: “Kill for Candy” and “Born to Lie”. The band’s setlist was comprised of entirely unheard material from the record, with select cover tracks peppered in here and there. Although there weren’t any singalongs this time around, a unique opportunity was presented to the sold-out crowd: just simply sit back and watch the show.


DREAMCAR’s lineup onstage included the addition of two female backing vocalists as well as a keyboardist to fill out the sound, making pivotal moments during songs like “Kill for Candy” stand out far more in a live setting. Havok’s showmanship is something I’ve always admired, whether he is captivating audiences in theaters with AFI, pumping up fans in nightclubs with Blaqk Audio or screaming his lungs out with XTREMIST. DREAMCAR shows Havok donned in suit and tie, singing song after song with incredible gusto and interaction with the crowd, at one point even jumping on top of the speakers to shake hands with people in the balcony.

With that being said, let’s not overlook the magical musicianship between Dumont, Kanal and Young. All three are ridiculously talented, as is evident from their years of writing and touring in No Doubt, a band that has explored a different genre on every record they have produced since the start of their career. When it comes to most supergroups, you’re seeing members from two or more projects team up, and sometimes it can take a bit for things to click onstage. With DREAMCAR, three of the four members have all played together in the same band for so long that they are able to pick up on each others’ playing abilities along with their habits, making them that much more incredible to see.

While we eagerly await the release of their debut album this May, DREAMCAR’s first show in SF was a great introduction for any Bay Area fan. It gave us just enough of a taste to want us hoping they’ll be back again soon.

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