LIVE REVIEW + PHOTOS: La Dispute and the Wildlife Tour

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Baltimore is a weird place to see shows for me. I live in DC without a car, so getting there is really hard without the help of great friend (A big thanks to my friend McKenzie who let my friends Christina, Luka and I borrow her car. You’re the best.). Some venues in the city are really awesome (Charm City Art Space), some are kinda bad (*Cough* Ram’s Head Live), and others it’s really hit or miss. I recently went to the Ottobar to see La Dispute on their Wildlife Tour, and I’ve had some problems with that venue in the past because generally I get really stoked on bands, which generally results in me climbing on top of a crowd and doing flips off of the stage. I found out from a security guard at the Ottobar that their policy is directly contingent on what the bands want (ie if they want kids coming on stage or not), and to my great pleasure La Dispute and the rest of the touring bands were okay with it.

Sainthood reps

Quick sidebar and pro-tip from Tyler: if you’re going to crowd surf, go for it, but don’t stand on stage and dance like you just won a gold medal. Congratulations, I get it, you’re stoked, but just get off the damn stage. You look like a 12 year old girl who thinks that Justin Bieber made eye contact with you while you sit in the nosebleeds. End sidebar. Sorry for my ranting, but I needed to put that in a public forum, can’t stand it. But La Dispute absolutely killed it this past Thursday, and they proved that their passionate and intense music translates very well live.

All Get Out

The first band that opened up the Wildlife tour was a band called Sainthood Reps from Long Island, NY.  As I walked in the doors they started playing, and I was generally impressed with their sound. It’s very gritty, bare bones, and hard hitting while at the same time keeping an emotional sound. Their singer was passionate, their drummer went hard, and it proved to be a very positive experience listening to them. All Get Out came out next, and to be completely frank they may be tied for my favorite performance of the night (with La Dispute). I did not know one song by them going in, but they blew me away with both their energy and their ability to get really soft-spoken. I went home and checked out their albums on Spotify, and they are just as good live as they are on their recordings. I really appreciate when bands take other bands on tour that may not be as necessarily well known with them in comparison to things like the GK tour where every single band could do a headlining set and draw a crowd. I love going to shows and discovering new bands, it’s a really great feeling organically starting to like a new band from a personal experience and not just downloading their album off Mediafire because you saw their name on a blog somewhere and you really only listen to it maybe once the whole way through. Balance and Composure was direct support to La Dispute, and being from the general Pennsylvanian area where they call their home, I’ve seen this band a bunch of times, and they were on point as always. The thing I love about B&C is how dense they are, and how many different layers the weave into their songs (a lot of the time so much where surface listeners don’t even recognize it). They always translate fantastic live, sometimes even sounding better as they turn up their amps and make sure the sound envelopes your ears.

Balance and Composure

La Dispute then took the stage and started off with the first track on their new album, a Departure. The lights weren’t on, the drum was lit, and then Jordan Dreyer, the singer, exploded into the song. They kept this relatively dark atmosphere throughout the entirety of the show, which made it hard for me and the OVERWHELMING amount of photographers who looked straight from a Tumblr blog take pictures without a flash (I’m poor and haven’t bought one yet, come at me).  The thing La Dispute does really well in their live show is they really set a mood and get you immersed in their sound and their stories. The band really makes sure that their sound is as close to the record as possible without sounding too cookie cutter, which is much appreciated. 99.999999% of the time I’m always in the middle of the pit for shows moving around yelling and screaming, but for some reason I felt very compelled just to stand on the side and watch the band unfold on the stage. It was a very compelling experience, and I didn’t fully appreciate their set until the next morning when I listened to Wildlife (which they played a ton of tracks off of during their set due to it being their first headlining tour in support of the album). The band does a beautiful job of conveying the emotions that are so prevalent on all their albums on the stage, to the point where you feel like you’re almost hearing a different take on the songs. The highlight of the night, while normally semi-cliché, was the encore. La Dispute came out and played King Park off of their new album (which to those who aren’t familiar is one of the best songs of 2011) and it was so intense. Towards the end of the song, different members of theother bands came out with floor toms and were beating them like a war call, and it completely silenced the room. Gorgeous end to a gorgeous show.

La Dispute

This tour was something special. The headlining band was expectedly fantastic and great to watch, but I think the true praise goes towards whoever crafted this tour because they know their stuff.  All the bands had underlying similarities while still being different enough from each other that every band sounded fresh. Great tour, great people, check out any of these bands if they’re in your area.

Written By: Tyler Osborne (Follow him on twitter if you like Pizza)

Tyler Osborne

Live in DC, grew up in PA. I specialize in writing, filming and taking pictures about punk, pop-punk, and hardcore music, and I also have a huge background in film as well. When not on the site, i'm running my own internet radio show, ToZ's Edge Radio ( I also love stage diving and goldfish.
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