Last month, La Dispute released their ten year anniversary edition of Somewhere At The Bottom Of The River Between Vega And Altair. Recorded when some of the members were still in high school, this was their first full length album as a band,. The album was wildly unsuccessful at first, with some of the gigs they only yielding one or two people they managed to pull off the street. No one could have guessed that ten years later, the album would be considered a staple of the post-hardcore music scene. Despite not being recorded in an actual studio, the echoing, grungy sound set the album apart from the rest, adding to the less than polished sound that is La Dispute.
The remastered version lacks this battered sound, but adds another vocal layer to tighten and fill the sound as originally intended. Now witnessing them live at Gas Monkey Live in Dallas, Jordan’s tortured vocals surpassed all expectations I had, with the intense guitar and drums coming in as hot second to his razor sharp lyrics. The energy with which he sang was palpable; the very air around him seemed to vibrate with intensity as he leapt across the stage. Back and forth he jumped and thrashed as the set went on, even jumping into the crowd a few times. Marching up and down the front of the stage, Jordan got in people’s faces to solidify the intimacy of the performance. You could see the smiles on the other members faces as they watched his antics; the guitarist swinging his long locks as he played through the riffs.
I was extremely satisfied with this show, as I had been waiting for over six years to see them perform live. La Dispute got me through one of the hardest parts of my life, and their music spoke to me in a way no others had. With their emphasis on creative lyricism and a free verse format, it was like a breath of fresh air after hearing bands move into the same old rhymes with the same three notes repeated album after album.
As they neared the end of their set, I found myself a little disappointed. Wildlife was my favorite album of theirs, and I’ve always regretted never being able to hear that one done live. However, as if they could read my mind, the opening chords for ‘King Park’ shook the walls of the venue. Enthralled, I watched as Jordan sang, jumping around the stage with a manic grin. It was definitely the highlight of the show for me, I have never been more thrilled to hear a band perform old music before. When the climax of the song hit, Jordan held the mic out to the crowd that screamed the line “Can I still get into heaven if I kill myself?” That was the first and only time Jordan was still the whole show, during that last part of one of their most popular songs ever made.
Witnessing La Dispute take over Gas Monkey for a night surpassed my wildest expectations, and helped me cross another item off my bucket list. The venue reverberated my excitement and enjoyment of the performance, marking the experience as one to remember for more than just the avid fans, but as a truly memorable night. Although I missed out on seeing Circa Survive, I have no doubt that they rocked the house with music from their latest album The Amulet. I look forward to hearing them play the next time they come to town.
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