After seeing Michigan’s, La Dispute, tear through the Good Things stage in 2018 in a set that challenged that of All Time Low, The Used and Bullet For My Valentine, getting an intimate performance by the five-piece at Geelong’s home of rock music was a must. To say it didn’t disappoint is an understatement.
While the crowd was small for the bitterly cold Tuesday evening, the excitement and energy in the room was not. And that was just from the stage. The same high energy they exuded at Good Things was parallel, if not more, in Geelong. Opening with ‘Rose Quartz’ and moving through ‘Fulton Street I’ and ‘Fulton Street II’, frontman Jordan Dreyer stomped on every inch of the stage, strangling the microphone handle as his emotions erratically flooded the speakers; a view that was consistent throughout the entire set right up until their gigantic final call, ‘King Park’. Dan Vander Lugt brought the underlying drama, smashing through the drum heartbeats of the ‘a’ series – ‘a Departure’, ‘a Poem’ and ‘a Letter’, and bassist Adam Vass was the veins of the body of work, elevating the intensity. Guitarist Chad Morgan-Sterenberg and Corey Stroffolino complimented each other brilliantly, removing the show-off solos that usually take over hardcore live shows to represent the songs in their true form. As a group, each member has a significant role in making La Dispute function as a well-balanced, well-thought-out and well-executed outfit. This is not just represented through song and on-stage presence, but also in their demeanour. Dreyer interjected briefly between songs to mention their appreciation to be touring in Australia, to reflect on their career, to invite the crowds to move closer to the stage and to also recognise and promote the space as an all-inclusive zone, which he delivered as genuinely as the poetic lyrical content of his songs.
The unconventional song structures throughout La Disputes catalogue makes for a captivating rollercoaster set where you are entirely immersed in the emotional journey. While they don’t subscribe to anthemic choruses and repetition, the theatrics and investment from an anthem are still strong with crowd chants a-plenty. ‘Hudsonville MI 1956’, ‘For Mayor in Splitsville’, ‘Castle Builders’, ‘View From our Bedroom Window’ and ‘First Reactions After Falling Through The Ice’ were the standout tracks to deliver that anthemic nature, while tracks like ‘Woman (In Mirror)’ and ‘Rhodonite and Grief’ were great contrasting tracks to show the light and shade of La Dispute.
La Dispute are artistically and creatively talented, shaking up the mundane repetition of the music industry, but the true standout nature of the band is in their passion-filled, emotionally charged live show both in festival settings and on the smaller stage of the band room.
Where: Barwon Club Geelong
When: Tuesday 10 September
Reviewed by Tammy Walters
Photos sourced from Socials