La Dispute at the El Rey
Admission of Bias: I feel that Jordan Dreyer and La Dispute are the single best live act performing in America today. I can say this without any doubt because while the contest for the second best live band may be tough, La Dispute is in a league of its own. There is something that happens when Jordan Dreyer takes the stage. The combination of intensity and depth of emotion is unmatched. Think of Edgar Allen Poe performing his poetry live. Think of the intensity of the Sex Pistols. Then think of the stage presence of Cirque de Soleil. Put it all together, and you have La Dispute.
Have you sat down and read a really good story recently? Have you become attached to the character in a book and the author tears him away and you are left sobbing? This is how intense a La Dispute concert is. You share the deep raw emotion of painful personal stories told in such a beautiful way, with the power of Dreyer’s vocals and the indescribable emotional sound of the guitar work driven powerfully by Brad Vander Lugt’s drumming and accented perfectly by Adam Vass’s superior bass skills.
The setlist they did play was put together brilliantly to vary the atmosphere. From slow, beautiful tunes such as “Woman (in Mirror)” to the devastating “New Storms For Older Lovers,” La Dispute kept the crowd wildly switching between dancing, chanting, and wild moshing. Jordan Dreyer brought Jeremy Bolm of Touche Amore on stage and they played “How I Feel” and “Why it Scares Me” from their split EP Searching for a Pulse/The Worth of the World, released in 2010.
This is something I wish Dreyer would actually do more of in concert, which is to talk a bit about the songs and what they mean, or mean to him. Buying a La Dispute CD is purchasing an album of great music, combined with a book of extraordinary poetry. Seeing a live La Dispute show is something akin to a religious experience, but one where you get to scream, mosh, dance, push, shove and all around have an amazing time.
Dan Adler was raised in Southern California to a mom and dad, one of whom appreciated Creedence and left wing anti-war politics. By the teenage years, Dan became obsessed with Black Sabbath, listening to the same seven albums repeatedly for 5 years. During this time, his favorite concert experience was seeing Metallica open for a bunch of bands that no longer exist and winning the 1st ever Santa Cruz Air Guitar contest. After several years in Africa listening and dancing to Chimurenga music, Dan returned to have the two best children in the world, one of whom spends a lot of time at concerts with him. What a lucky dad!