La Dispute / Gouge Away - live in Boston (Cover Artwork)
Staff Pick

La Dispute / Gouge Away

live in Boston (2019)

live show

It’s been a minute since La Dispute hit the road, but they’ve got a solid new album out called Panorama so they’ve commenced a headlining tour and brought out two adventurous and like-minded bands to help support it.

Midwesterners Slow Mass opened it up. They’re a pretty small band but with a justified buzz, playing an interesting kind of ’90s post-hardcore and indie rock blend. They kicked it off with one of their (if not probably the) best songs, “Dark Dark Energy”, from their debut EP, 2016’s Treasure Pains. It’s a dynamic, Jawbox-y number that I could definitely see going over the heads of La Dispute’s younger fans but it’s also loud and rocking enough that I’m not surprised the audience seemed at least somewhat responsive to it. They played a mix of songs off that and last year’s On Watch full-length, and while their co-vocalists’ respective deliveries can be a bit quiet and understated at times, the quartet sounded pretty darn good overall.

Set list (6:29-6:58):

1. Dark Dark Energy

2. Gray Havens

3. Blocks


4. Suburban Yellow

5. ?


6. Nice But Not Kind

It’s a big direct support role for Gouge Away on this tour, and definitely their biggest ever. They’ve seemingly been making it count on this tour with a quick and efficient though very effective set that at this stop went just under half an hour and had the crowd moving from the first note. A pit pretty much immediately broke out for the Florida hardcore band who has a cool, creative post-hardcore streak that runs through their tunes. It’s pretty clear they’ve been slowly growing and collecting hype over the last year with a good sophomore album and tours with the likes of Drug Church and Culture Abuse, and it’s cool to see. They played a bunch off last year’s super solid Burnt Sugar, including “Only Friend” (with that very sweet, slowed-down riff) and “Ghost”, as well as a couple older, more intense and straightforward tracks.

It was a strong pair of opening sets, but the big show for everyone was certainly La Dispute. They’ve got a devoted and passionate fanbase that seems to span all scenes and personalities, and that crowd showed it by freaking out and singing along for just about the entire hour and 17 minutes. (They all still really love that first album for sure, though personally I think everything they’ve released since pretty easily eclipses it.)

They actually played as a seven-piece for the majority (but I think all?) of the set, with a third guitarist and an auxiliary drummer of sorts as far as I could see. They never sounded messy though, all playing on time and nailing all the little intricacies of their complex songs, even with frontman Jordan Dreyer ever the jittery and kinetic presence on stage.

They included a little more than half of the pretty solid new effort, the aforementioned Panorama, as well as a healthy scoop of older fare that dated back to the above-referenced Somewhere at the Bottom of the River Between Vega and Altair. My favorite albums of theirs are actually the two in between, though (as hinted above), so I was pretty pumped for tracks like the poignant “Harder Harmonies” (which got a great reaction from the crowd) and the delicate “Woman (In Mirror)”.

The band was even real enough to skip the encore break and tell us they’d just stay out for a couple final songs. Can we call that a “noncore”? It was cool of them and made for a more efficient and enjoyable, non-step set chock full of songs.

Set list (8:09-9:26):



3. a Departure


4. Stay Happy There


6. First Reactions After Falling Through the Ice

7. The Last Lost Continent

8. Sad Prayers for Guilty Bodies

9. New Storms for Older Lovers



11. Harder Harmonies

12. Woman (In Mirror)

13. a Poem




16. I See Everything


17. a Broken Jar

18. You and I in Unison