This past Wednesday at The Observatory in Santa Ana, post-hardcore band La Dispute shook things up with the help Baltimore indie rockers, Wildhoney and Japan’s Envy. It was an interesting night of music with each band delivering a unique sound and style.
Wildhoney consider themselves a “guitar pedal pop band”. Their set was strengthened by some great interplay in between the vocals and guitars. I found their flavor of indie pop to have elements of shoegaze which made it easy to just relax and vibe to their sounds. Front woman, Lauren Shusterich delivered tantalizing vocals that fused perfectly with the band’s beautiful melodies.
Repping Tokyo, Envy turned things up with their take on post-rock / scream. They instantly caught my attention when lead singer, Tetsuya Fukugawa brought the heat, so to speak. His happiness and passion to be performing was infectious. With arms flailing, it was as thought he were conducting a hardcore opera. You could definitely feel his and his bandmates’ energy.
After Envy got our blood pumping, we were now ready for La Dispute. The Grand Rapids, Michigan band did not disappoint. Vocalist, Jordan Dreyer is a firebomb on stage. I’ve been listening to La Dispute for years, I’ve always felt his pain and passion behind the music. His poetry is so beautiful and daunting all at the same moment. The lyrics are most definitely complex in that the listeners have no choice but to partake really. I never saw anything like it, and I see many post-hardcore shows. La Dispute’s performance was an intense and emotive experience. What did for me, was the impact I saw that band had on their fans. With passion in their eyes, the fans were screaming every lyric back to the band and felt complete acceptance.
Jordan is definitely a humble and appreciative musician, constantly thanking his audience after each song. He gave a little speech with intentions of people putting their phones down and enjoying the show. I did like how he said that he was “almost certain you’ll enjoy our show in its live setting rather than your little phone screens.” He also mentioned how their videos are all on this amazing thing called “YouTube”, and he advises them to absolutely watch them later on when they get home.
As for performance, Jordan has it down. He did pause during the set to acknowledge his “inexplicable twirling” as to why he started out with a 30 ft mic chord and somehow has a 15 ft now: “Now we have to stop and I’m embarrassed … and you’re all going to go home and tweet about it.”
Again, “impact” is the word that rang most true to me.
Words & Photography: Danielle Gornbein