La Dispute’s “Rooms of the House” Tour with Pianos Become The Teeth and Mansions The Mohawk in Austin, TX on March 23rd, 2014
This was a tour I was highly anticipating – to say the least. For one, I had never seen Mansions or La Dispute before. Second off, the fact that La Dispute was coming off of their highly ambitious Rooms of the House, one of my favorite records of the year thus far, had me very interested in how more melodic tracks like the “Woman” duo would come across live. Well, the show surpassed my expectations, being the most truly intense and devastating concert I’ve ever been to.
While Mansions may have been the odd man out sonically, the cranked up distortion and fuzzy guitar tones overtook the venue in no time at all. The songs almost all stuck to tracks from Doom Loop, making for a loud set perfect for the venue and slot. Sandwiched in between “Climbers” and “The Economist” were four other DL tracks and two Dig Up The Dead numbers. Surprisingly to me, all of the songs played were louder ones - the ones with more fuzz and distortion. It fit the set very nicely, but the acoustic fan in me would have loved to hear something like “Seven Years” or “Dig Up The Dead.” Needless to say, the band put on a great set that was loud enough to have the audience involved and singing along. That’s the great thing about Mansions – they can be both loud and soft, doing do a fantastic job on either side of the spectrum.
City Don't Care
Flowers in My Teeth
If You're Leaving
The sun went down as Pianos Become The Teeth set up. The night was oddly cold for Austin this time of year, but it fit the mood all the better. The Lack Long After is to this day the most heartbreaking album I’ve ever heard, so each time I’ve seen Pianos, I’ve had to brace myself. Once the opening two-minute drum intro of “Liquid Courage” began, I knew the intensity would soon follow. From the opening line of “On the day you died / I cut my hair for the funeral” through the final lines of “Hiding,” the set was full of gut-wrenching intensity and emotion. “I’ll Be Damned” into “I’ll Get By” made for a riveting ying-and-yang of sentiments, while the older “Filal” incited the pit. The band played a new song called “Lesions” – I think that’s how you spell it – and to say the least, I’m quite excited for any new material. The emotion within this band and these songs is unmatched – especially live.
I'll Be Damned
I'll Get By
Lesions (New Song)
Wasting no time, La Dispute took the stage. The band played a very ideal setlist, starting off with two Rooms tracks: “HUDSONVILLE, MI 1956” and “First Reactions After Falling Through the Ice.” Having never seen this band live before, I was very interested in how they would convey all the emotion of the songs and intricate lyricism live. However, leave it frontman Jordan Dreyer to accomplish just this. He constantly swirls around the stage, goes form singing to screaming in an instant, and holds ground throughout the set.
The setlist itself almost worked like you’d imagine one of their albums to. It contained the heavier cuts (“Stay Happy There” and “New Storms”), interludes (the “Woman” tracks and the all three Wildlife interludes). As a result, La Dispute’s live show contains a very unique kind cohesiveness – it’s like watching a story or play unfold on stage. In fact, the intricate moments really allow the band’s skill to shine. Both “Woman” tracks prove that Dreyer is quite a talented singer, while “a Letter,” “a Poem,” and “a Broken Jar” demonstrate that the band doesn’t need crazy riffs and pounding drums to keep the intensity going.
All of this led La Dispute’s set to being arguably the most intense live show I’ve been to. The way the whole crowd yelled out to every word of “Andria” at full volume. The way the tender “Woman (Reading)” created visuals in minds throughout the venue. All the while, Dreyer looks like a possessed poet meets a singer – his stage presence is incredibly unique and carries its own intensity. While I was initially hesitant prior the show, he was able transition from signing to melody to screams instantly and without any slip-ups. All the while, the guitars, bass lines, and drumbeats dance around the melody and energy.
For the first time, I’m actually having a fairly hard time describing exactly what made this night and show so intense for me – aside form just the nature and content of the music, that is. Maybe it was the weather. Maybe it was that my hoodie wasn’t quite warm enough. Maybe it’s because I was at the show alone, which is rare. Whatever the reason, everything added up and the intensity and show just clicked. No matter what band you’re a fan of or what album or song catches your ear most, definitely go see this show if it comes near you.
HUDSONVILLE, MI 1956
First Reactions After Falling Through the Ice
The Most Beautiful Bitter Fruit
Stay Happy There
St. Paul Missionary Baptist Church Blues
Woman (In Mirror)
For Mayor in Splitsville
All Our Bruised Bodies and the Whole Heart Shrinks
THE CHILD WE LOST 1963
New Storms for Older Lovers
Said the King to the River
You and I in Unison
a Broken Jar