By Ben Massey | 21/09/22
Quite possibly the best live performance I have ever seen was La Dispute in Toronto last Sunday. As a band that intertwines poetry within their work, I was expecting something a little more reserved, but it could not have been further from that. It was powerful and ambitious. Something similar to a spiritual experience.
Since forming in 2004, La Dispute have solidified their position in the heavy music scene by developing a sound that is so individual to them. This North American tour is a celebration of that. It has been a long wait for fans of La Dispute, 3 years to be precise, but it was so worth it.
The supports for the night were Pictoria Vark (surprisingly not named after the many Victoria Park’s spread across Canada) and Sweet Pill, both of which I had never heard of before, but I have definitely been converted into a fan now. Pictoria Vark started off the night with their poetry-driven-indie-rock tunes to get the crowd in their feelings – an essential part of a La Dispute show.
Next came Sweet Pill, an incredibly interesting band. One that merges hardcore with pop, an unlikely but necessary combination of styles. I never thought I’d say this, but La Dispute had a lot to live up to.
Fortunately, La Dispute did not disappoint. There were multiple times I had goosebumps during their performance, especially during King Park, a song about a child taken from the earth far too young. I have never quite seen a crowd so invested in the music, and one that knew every single lyric to a song that is six minutes long. To hear the crowd scream “can I still get into heaven if I kill myself?” as King Park drew closer to the end was a truly powerful experience, and I would urge every single person reading this to see La Dispute play to witness this.
“Whoever you are, wherever you come from and however you feel, you will always be welcome at a La Dispute show. You are welcome to reach into your spirit and live in the moment as tangible art.”
I commend La Dispute for their desire to make everybody feel safe at their shows, something that we should all feel strongly about. To quote lead vocalist Jordan Dreyer himself: “call this genre, punk, hardcore, rock, whatever you want but this scene is the best chance we have at creating a safe space for everyone”. Whoever you are, wherever you come from and however you feel, you will always be welcome at a La Dispute show. You are welcome to reach into your spirit and live in the moment as tangible art.
However, I did have one problem with this show: the fact that I had to leave early so I could catch my coach back home. If it wasn’t for that, I would have been at that show watching from the balcony all night long.
If you haven’t heard of La Dispute, now is your chance to go and listen. They take heavy influence from poetry and hardcore, and merge it to create something unparallel to any other band in this scene.
Edited by: Roxann Yus
Photos taken by: Ben Massey