As each season approaches, we tend to find things that we greatly anticipate. Myself, I get most excited for tours. My number-one tour of the spring belonged to the powerhouse lineup of La Dispute, Title Fight, and The Hotelier at my favorite venue in Philadelphia.
Opening the show were Massachusetts natives The Hotelier, who are still feeling the strong reception from last year’s opus Home, Like Noplace is There. Their set included fan favorites like “Your Deep Rest” and “The Scope of All This Rebuilding”. Having recently rereleased their “proper” debut It Never Goes Out, they threw in tracks like “Vacancy” and “An Ode to the Nite Ratz Club”. The Hotelier are easily one of the strongest-received bands in their scene and were a perfect fit to open the show. Frontman Christian Holden expressed his awe and gratitude at the crowd’s reception to “Life in Drag”: “It blows my mind to see people moshing and dancing to a song about crossdressing and identity. Thank you for that.” Their emotionally-charged set ended with Home closer “Dendron” and left a big pair of shoes to fill.
I recently caught fellow Pennsylvanians Title Fight in Texas during South By So What?! Music Festival and I obviously couldn’t get enough. While their set in Texas was monumentally shorter, I had an idea of what to expect before they began. What I saw was an incredibly healthy mixture of tracks old and new, to further solidify their sound since releasing Hyperview a couple of months ago. Live staples like “Shed” and “Symmetry” balanced out the slow burn of tracks like “Mrahc” and “Rose of Sharon”. Closing their set with “Secret Society”, Title Fight left the room sweaty and full of energy.
Like Title Fight, I also caught La Dispute at SBSW a few weeks ago, which was their first show in about six months. What I saw then reflected to this night as well: La Dispute are a force with which to be reckoned. Opening with the incredibly cutting “King Park”, the band erupted with more passion than I’d ever seen them exert. Tracks from their latest record Rooms of the House still held up after their initial touring cycle; “First Reactions After Falling Through the Ice” and “Woman (Reading)” displayed two very separate forms of power, while Wildlife‘s “Harder Harmonies” and “Safer in the Forest/Love Song for Poor Michigan” reminded us why this band are just that good. The slideshow aesthetic they used previously on their headlining tour last April welcomed them to the stage once more and the crowd went nothing short of ballistic. Closing with “Stay Happy There” and “You and I in Unison”, the band left the stage before returning to play “The Last Lost Continent” from their debut Somewhere at the Bottom of the River Between Vega and Altair.