La Dispute Bring Aggression, Passion And Heart To Fine Line Show


I leave for California in just a couple of hours which means I’ve been a ball of stress for days. I took a couple nights off from shows just so I could get ready for the trip but that was clearly the worst choice I could have made. My fear of flying has been getting the best of me and I truly just can’t calm myself down no matter what I do. Although I’m far from ready to leave in a couple of hours, I had to do something to calm my nerves and the only thing I knew that could help me was a show so I found myself spending my night before a nerve wracking flight finding solace in a concert from some of the best bands out there right now.

Due to the early start time for this all ages show I missed majority of opening act Slow Mass but the songs I did catch had me wishing I had left work just a wee bit earlier to catch their entire set. Soft and sweet at times but a clear edge at others (which would be the theme of majority of the night), Slow Mass’ music was familiar but not cliche or feeling like they were trying to be anything other than what they are. The beauty in vocalist Mercedes Webb’s voice was matched by the beauty and thoughtfulness that was clearly put into the instrumentation. With every note having a purpose and every word having a meaning, the fact that this band was opening up this show said everything. Most of the time you can tell when an opener is on stage and there are clear reasons why said band is opening. Slow Mass made it clear that, although they were first up, they were not going to act like just another opening band. Commanding the audience and stage with ease, I wouldn’t be surprised to see their name headlining a show here in the Twin Cities sooner rather than later. They set the tone for the rest of the night and to say it was the perfect tone would be an understatement.

It has been a couple of years since I have caught the next band, Gouge Away, live. Hailing from Florida, this group had me absolutely stunned when I saw them at The Triple Rock back in October of 2017. There was something so intense and aggressive about them but also something so sweet and heartbreakingly beautiful. It seriously made me so happy to see and hear that, after a couple of years, not much has changed with this group and their live show left me absolutely stunned yet again. With two albums out, this band is definitely a hardworking bunch of kids and that’s obvious when it comes to their live show. It’s impossible to not be captivated by the five members as they play their intense music with their hearts on their sleeves. Like the other two bands of the night, Gouge Away’s music is music you feel, not just hear. The intensity in vocalist Christina Michelle’s voice is something that makes you stop whatever you’re doing. It demands your attention and all of your energy even if you are just standing against the wall in the back. Intense and in your face, Gouge Away had the youthful audience finally moving around to the beat which created a beautiful atmosphere in the venue which, in turn, made all of my anxiety about having to get on a plane fall to the wayside.

Gouge Away could have played for hours and I don’t think anyone in the crowd would have complained but we still had one band to go and a strict all ages curfew to abide by. The stage was changed over quickly for the headliners- La Dispute. As soon as the lights went down and the band took the stage, the mood in the air shifted to something a little bit more emotional and with more depth. La Dispute is one of those bands where you either love them or hate them. Definitely a band where lyrics reign supreme and said lyrics hit a bit too close for comfort, La Dispute has never failed to leave me emotionally exhausted but with a smile on my face. With four albums, eleven EPs and various other releases, this band is not a new thing to the scene but it seems like it’s taken people a little while to catch onto their unique spoken-word styled post-hardcore sound. That being said, having seen them in an empty Triple Rock years ago to seeing them last night with a good sized crowd around me had me feeling so happy and warm. This is a band that does so much good for so many great organizations (they raise a lot of money for charity and just seem to have the biggest hearts ever) and gives people so much passion and hope through their music (one of those “this band saved my life” bands) that they are more than deserving of all of the attention they have been getting lately.

La Dispute’s set was full of unfiltered energy and emotion. There’s something special about the way vocalist Jordan Dreyer performs. I honestly don’t even know how to put it into words but his performance always comes off as raw and full of love and passion. That vibe matched the feeling in the room. Just a couple of songs in, Jordan stopped everything and made it clear that if you were making anyone in the room feel uncomfortable in any way, the door was in the back. That statement was heard loud and clear but nobody left the venue. I don’t know if something happened up front to make him say that or if it’s just what he always says since, as he reminded us, concerts are one of the few safe spaces left in this world, but I am very proud to be living in a city where a statement like that is made and nobody is pushed out the door. With a sense of love in the air and a fire in everyone’s soul, like every other time I’ve seen them, La Dispute’s set left me emotionally drained and exhausted but also somehow extremely energized at the same time.

Last night’s show could have gone on for hours and it still wouldn’t have been enough for me. I woke up back to my state of being a ball of anxiety over my flight today but I also had a giant smile on my face. Music is a hell of a drug.