La Dispute have a singular and unmistakable sound, fine tuned over more than a decade of consistently powerful releases and relentless touring. The Grand Rapids, MI natives combine elements of post-hardcore and spoken word poetry to deliver unparalleled storytelling with themes of life, death, beauty, and suffering, nihilistic yet shadowed by hope and learning. Vocalist Jordan Dreyer unleashes a torrent of energy across the stage as a team of 4 to 6 additional instruments lay down the intricate framework behind him, taking an indie approach to a melancholy math post-rock vibe, Those not brought to tears are flung into motion as the roller coaster swings from slow and contemplative to aggressive and heavy. This tour is in support of their latest album, 'Panorama', a familiar landscape to compliment their impressive catalogue, to be enjoyed by fans of Pianos Become the Teeth, Balance and Composure, and of course Touche Amore. Philadelphia now a memory, the tour is now making their way west throughout December before concluding in Los Angeles on 12/13. A full list of dates is below, as well as a full album stream of 'Panorama' courtesy of Epitaph.
La Dispute are joined on the road by Touche Amore for the first time since 2011, having shared a journey through Europe in support of a 7in split featuring a collaborative vision between the two bands. Their soundscapes and fantbases intertwined, this lineup is a dream for those passionate about the melodic hardcore renaissance of the past decade. Filling the opening spot for this tour is Empath, the Philadelphia natives combine a playful chaotic nature with moody post-punk in a whimsical performance. They are an act to watch in the future, and will surely be performing again in Philly sooner rather than later.
Earlier this year, Chino, CA post-hardcore band Hail The Sun preformed at Knitting Factory to celebrate their latest album, 'Mental Knife'. The Mental Knife Tour reached 24 cities in 30 days, stopping in Brooklyn on 9/29. The sold out crowd provided no shortage of crowdsurfers, with not a silent voice nor still foot in the house. Few can reach the level of energy and style that Hail the Sun bring to their live performances, a perfect blend of existential angst and divine craftsmanship that sets a high bar for other acts to match. Their set included a selection from their entire catalog of work, prominently featuring new material while also throwing back deep cuts from their 2012 EP Elephantiasis. Frontman Donovan Melero, who provides both vocals and percussion, switches between playing both in unison and allowing a touring drummer to fill the kit while he leaps around the stage with charisma and flair. Guitarists Shane Gann and Aric Garcia noodle with technical wizardry, supplying both hypnotizing melody and chaotic math panic. Their recorded work is equality impressive and affecting. 'Mental Knife' feels like a spiritual successor to their 2014 masterpiece 'Wake' while building on the impressive catalog they have built since forming in 2009. Fans of Circa Survive or The Fall of Troy will feel right at home enjoying their math inspired, atmospheric soundscapes, but Hail the Sun truly does stand alone as one of the best progressive acts you will find today.
After the show, the band posed for pictures with fans on the sidewalk outside. As a special surprise, Donovan preformed an intimate acoustic set with guitarist Sergio Medina. Together they play in the band Sianvar, as well as their new project Nova Charisma, who's debut album is now available via Equal Vision Records. Hail The Sun's Mental Knife is also available from Equal Vision, please enjoy the music video for their latest single 'Devastate and Recalibrate' below. If you have the opportunity to attend Swanfest on April 25th 2020 in Sacramento, CA do not pass it up, they will be joining an incredible lineup including Dance Gavin Dance, Animals as Leaders, Veil of Maya, and many more.
Words and Photography by Jon Reino
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