With the eclectic line-up that the Botanique team has concocted for us, we were expecting a lot for the return of La Dispute in our country. From Michigan to St.Josse, tonight we were part of a much bigger community.
A quiet beginning
While we pass the crowd of rap fans who came to applaud the artist BB Jacques, the arms are now filled with tattoos, the clothes tend to the dark, no doubt, we arrived at the right place. The room fills up slowly while the first act of the evening takes place on stage..Oceanator ! With her light punk rock, we expected a smooth start, preparing us ideally for La Dispute and it is clearly not the case … The singer offers us a purified version of her songs in an electric guitar-voice formula that surprises for the first two songs, but lost the crowd and us at the end. We were expecting the powerful “Stuck” and we only got a little too much sweetness despite a very beautiful cover of Eliott Smith, which the singer refers to his passage on the same stage 25 years ago. If the voice of the singer sublimated by her guitar playing is worth it, a little more madness would not have been refused especially before La Dispute.
Emo-punk hype train !
A bit of emo, tapping technique and punk-rock, will the Pool Kids recipe get the better of us ? With an interesting album released in January 2023, we were eager to discover this little sensation live, and the energy has clearly gone up a notch. We are still quite far from post-hardcore but we take a good dose of fun and rock in front of this formation coming from Florida which will, as expected, unfold their last eponymous album. With efficient tracks like the bouncy “That’s Physics, Baby” or the powerful “Conscious Uncoupling“, we are in front of a live that goes up in power and that is not reminiscent of Paramore version 2023. Lots of energy, shared smiles, the band is having fun with us and offers a rather original mix of inspirations for the style. We leave this live ready to go back to the dark notes of Michigan’s post-hardcore.
Like a bullet in the knees
It’s been 12 years since Wildlife, the flagship album of La Dispute was released. A project that has left its mark on a whole era with its wide sonic palette, its songwriting and its dark, brutal stories, yet so close to reality. Postponed by the pandemic, the band held on to perform this monument live, in a packed venue, and yes… Nothing changed. From the beginning on “a Departure“, to the hard “Edward Benz, 27 times“ to the hit “King Park“, the band will give all that they have in their guts as if time stopped on a night in 2011 in Michigan. Jordan will not hesitate to remind his audience how much the pandemic has hurt the artists but especially the humans. He reminds us through a beautiful speech but especially through his music how despair and the feeling of not belonging to any box is not a weakness and that we can push ourselves trough it. Marking its support for people who need a helping hand, for the oppressed or the marginalized, we loved this small positive thought which is welcome in these dark times and which succeeds in making us smile for a moment. The band does not make any compromise and proposes a sound as on the records, without any artifice, blasting their poetry and their sense for wild sonorities. The precision of the rhythmic part supports the lyrical flights or the solid riffs of the two guitarists while the singer, throws his microphone in the crowd, with a sharing which puts forward the hardcore side of the formation. With a solid encore of three songs from the other opuses of the group’s discography, we had a lot of fun with them tonight and the power of this project remains something unique and amazing. Was “Such Small Hands” missing on the setlist ? Maybe, but it’s only a detail in front of the abundance proposed by La Dispute tonight.
Setlist: a Departure,Harder Harmonies,St. Paul Missionary Baptist Church Blues,Edit Your Hometown,a Letter,Safer in the Forest/Love Song for Poor Michigan,The Most Beautiful Bitter Fruit,a Poem,King Park,Edward Benz, 27 Times,I See Everything,a Broken Jar,all our bruised bodies and the whole heart shrinks,You and I in Unison ,Andria,Woman (in mirror),HUDSONVILLE, MI 1956
We’re having a hard time getting over it. The ears are fine thanks to the proven quality of the Rotonde, but the emotions are mixed. There is something visceral in a live from La Dispute that we do not find elsewhere. Nothing is calculated, everything is coming out of the guts and is laid in front of us with absolute transparency and raw emotions. We won’t forget this gig anytime soon and we are already looking forward to see the future of this powerful project with a performance that invite us to think, to dig deeper than expected, especially for an end of week at the Botanique.