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The DePaulia

The Student News Site of DePaul University

The DePaulia

The Student News Site of DePaul University

The DePaulia

Pump up the jams: La Dispute at the Metro

The style of music Michigan-based La Dispute had originally crafted together with their freshman release, “Vancouver,” in 2006 is vastly different from the direction that the five-piece has shifted toward with their most recent release, “Rooms of the House”; however, a sold out show Saturday, April 5, at the Metro made it clear that fans were adjusting rather well to the new style.

A large range of genres made an appearance at the Metro as the opening act, Mansions, brought the most mellow, lighthearted approach with their three-piece arrangement. Contrary to mellow Mansions, the band Pianos Become the Teeth followed up next with the heaviest, most abrasive sound of the three bands while utilizing catchy guitar riffs coupled with a full sounding percussion and bass section. As for the main act, La Dispute has constructed a musically complex, while still heavy, style that greatly relies on each instrument to convey their intended message.

To kick things off, Mansions dove right into things with the first song “Climbers” off their newest LP entitled “Doom Loop,” which was just released last year. Although similar to their previous releases, the new LP has shifted away from the angsty, boyish themes evident in songs such as “Blackest Sky” and has ventured toward a more mature approach that accurately reflects the man that frontman Christopher Browder had previously alluded to with his youthful lyricism in his earlier work.

Generally mellow, Mansions weaved through a melodic set list that was highlighted by songs such as “City Don’t Care,” a hit from their 2011 full length “Dig Up the Dead.” After a grungy, fuzzy fade out, Browder quickly thanked the crowd for showing up early and plunged into their final track, “The Economist.” With a lo-fi rock-influenced riff to start the song, the crowd suddenly gained a burst of energy, which would prove to be a much needed boost with who was about to step foot on stage.

Wasting no time at all, Baltimore-based, post-hardcore band Pianos Become the Teeth started their set with a song that doesn’t typically appear on their set lists. The rumbling drums that begin “Liquid Courage” aroused goosebumps in the crowd while also giving them a brutal insight into the struggles that lead singer Kyle Durfey felt after the death of his father. A motionless audience was almost fitting as “And on Memorial Day, I Started Drinking” rattled from Durfey’s mouth and silenced the crowd until the beginning riffs of “I’ll Be Damned” shook the crowd awake.

Almost intentionally, the band left little room for conversation as each song flowed smoothly, well maybe just quickly, into the next. With a new LP in the works that has no set release date, the band showcased an unreleased song, “Lesions,” that veered away from their screamo based approach of the past and featured Durfey singing more than before. Before long, the soft, harmonious riff that begins their latest release, “Hiding”, capped off a quick, but emotional set that generated an appropriate atmosphere for La Dispute to enter.

One unique aspect of the recent LP from Michigan natives, La Dispute, is the fact that the album is entirely fictional. Sure, the themes that are depicted and played out are every bit as alive and tangible as before in the way that Dreyer chooses to articulate them, but the stories themselves are imaginary narratives. “HUDSONVILLE, MI 1956″ continued the emotional evening and placed the audience in the shoes of a woman away from home struggling with the inability to speak to her husband while tornadoes ravaged their hometown. Accompanied with the pinpoint focus displayed on stage was a projector that portrayed various pictures, or to use a phrase from Dreyer, “objects in space”, behind the band members as they carefully weaved through each song.

Continuing in order, “First Reactions After Falling Through the Ice” followed next, which brought about the more palpable theme of trust and self-doubt for listeners to connect with as “I will never trust ice, I will never trust a thing,” lingered in the air as the song came to a close. Mostly new songs surfaced on the set list, however, the band took listeners on a trip down memory lane, as “New Storms for Older Lovers” and “Said the King to the River” off their first LP titled “Somewhere at the Bottom of the River Between Vega and Altair”, roared with conviction and rage. Although Dreyer nervously conveyed his newfound feelings of their older material and what it meant to him before, the songs still sang spiritedly.

It’s hard not to expect a heavily emotional and thought-provoking performance when watching the members of La Dispute and with that comes some disorder. In previous trips to Chicago and the Metro, Dreyer seemed a bit timid and almost used the mic as a lifeline on stage, clinging to it. This time around proved to be a different story as the flickering spotlights silhouetting the band from behind showcased Dreyer and his counterparts shining with confidence and enthusiasm. It was one of the more crisp and on-point shows that the band had performed while traveling through Chicago.

Known for their usual abrasive musical artistry, “Rooms of the House” has hit listeners with a much more contemplative and reserved sound than before. Songs such as “Woman (Reading)” and “Extraordinary Dinner Party” don’t quite embrace the sudden tempo changes and spine-splitting riffs from before, but they pack an equally powerful punch in their own right. Guitarists Kevin Whittemore and Chad Sterenberg along with bassist Adam Vass have truly evolved into a team that binds the unique creativity that the three each possess. Not to forget drummer Brad Vander Lugt, though, as he captivated the crowd with the crescendo in “King Park”, which has morphed into the band’s go-to set closer.

Although still the same at heart, the youthful hardcore boys from their earlier days were not the same musicians that made up the band today. More refined than ever, the fact that over 1,100 people came to see this band speaks volumes to the musicianship and impact of the Michigan five-piece. Rumbles of affirmation followed every last note and made this realization all the more clear.

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