Photography: La Dispute, Gouge Away, Slow Mass
Posted: by The Editor
La Dispute have shown us time and time again that they are not afraid to take risks and Panorama nails that idea down and shows us that even when they remove their punk sound and replace it with soft guitar tones and theatrical drums, we are still given an album that evokes feelings from inside us that we didn’t know were there. They are bringing these songs to fruition across the U.S. currently with support from Slow Mass and Gouge Away to provide the audience with an experience of new rock and hardcore bands while also giving us a set to remember from an acclaimed band of the scene.
Slow Mass are one of the best rock bands making music currently. Their sound incorporates elements of noisier grunge bands from the 90’s without falling into the trap of using chorus pedals and becoming a Failure copycat band. From the moment they started their soundcheck to the moment they played their last note, the audience was berated with monstrous guitar tone and technical drum parts thrown right in our face that all gear nerds of the scene are sure to appreciate (myself included). Hearing songs from their massive sounding 2018 album On Watch in a live setting and letting yourself be engulfed by their sound will leave you wanting to more than their mere 30 minute set provides ensuring that you’ll be drawn out to see them again on their next tour.
The moment Gouge Away’s 2018 album Burnt Sugar starts, you’re hit with sounds that will immediately remind you of the acclaimed hardcore band, Punch. Straight to the point, aggressive, and fed up with your sh*t hardcore and their live performance was no different. The moment the powerful guitar riffs starting playing and Christina started yelling, the crowd was fully engaged and got moving to their set. Gouge Away wasted no time and crushed three songs seamlessly before taking a break to introduce themselves and announcing they’re going to play an old song. Whether it was new material or old material, the crowd was energetic and ready to mosh to one of the most refreshing bands in the hardcore scene currently. If you’re going to these shows, be ready to feel empowered and angst filled by the end of Gouge Away’s aggressive set.
The lights dimmed and the house music was silenced. A few salt lamps and lightbulbs illuminate the stage. The sound of the ambient opening track “Rose Quartz’ comes over the PA and La Dispute walks on stage and transitions into playing Fulton Street I. The tension starts to build until Jordan starts belting out “Will I ever put flowers by the street?” and the crowd starts screaming it right back at him. The secret to La Dispute’s new album Panorama is that it constantly builds tension and feels like it’s going to explode but only releases occasionally which made the crowd feel on edge while slowly harnessing adrenaline to only be released when they played their older more aggressive material and giving the audience time to recollect themselves during the new songs and gently sing along. A quick look around the crowd from up front showed me there was older listeners, newer listeners. and mere surface La Dispute fans all collectively taking in the emotional performance we were being delivered to which led people to close their eyes and sing along (which if you’ve never done before, make a mental note to do so at the next show you’re at and reflect on what memories and thoughts the music brings to you). No matter what type of fan you consider yourself, this tour pulls songs from all albums equally and gives everyone a listening experience they’ll leave feeling satisfied with. If you plan on coming out to this tour, make an effort to show up for the opening bands Slow Mass and Gouge Away and let them become your new favorite bands before you slip into a trance during La Dispute’s set.