La Dispute, Title Fight & The Hotelier | Concert Review

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La Dispute, Title Fight & The Hotelier | Concert Review

Erica Marra

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Attending a show at which a band puts so much thought and passion into their live performance is rare. So is being a part of an audience that works to reciprocate such energy back to the performers on stage. When you put both of those aspects together, it makes for an incredible, sentimental musical experience. Such was the case with La Dispute’s sold-out home state show at The Crofoot in Pontiac on April 3.

Joined by co-headliners Title Fight and opening act The Hotelier, all three bands managed to create a cohesive, enjoyable atmosphere that so accurately defines Michigan’s alternative music scene.

Though I had only listened to them a handful of times before the show, I thought The Hotelier, an emo-rock quartet from Massachusetts, played a pretty impressive set. Not only did they keep their performance to a reasonable length for an opening band, (don’t lie, you’ve caught yourself audibly groaning at a first act you’ve barely heard of as they stumble into yet another five minute song AT LEAST once before) but I also found myself fairly engrossed in their performance. While their stage presence was not anything spectacular, the lyrical flair of their songs helped make up for whatever was lacking. In fact, later that night after an obligatory post-show snack and shower, I sat down and listened to their latest album, Home, Like No Place Is There, in entirety. In short, The Hotelier did their job of kicking off the show on a pleasant note.

Next on stage was one of my personal favorites, punk-alt rockers Title Fight of Kingston, Pennsylvania. This set was unique from any others I had seen them play before, for, in the words of my friend, it was “weird to see Title Fight at a show where the majority of the crowd wasn’t there to see Title Fight.” Translation: a few more people standing on the walls and staring at the stage with blank expressions, a little less human limbs tumbling over my head in the middle of the pit. Even amidst this slight change, I thoroughly enjoyed the set. Hearing songs from their latest album, Hyperview, was a treat. Their new, lo-fi sound blended well with the more punk-esque tunes of their past, creating a balance that left the majority of the crowd swaying to the rhythm at some points or in a sweaty, shouting heap at others, with never a dull moment in between. Keeping up with their theme of musical evolution, Title Fight’s setlist swapped some of their older crowd favorites for songs that better represented their matured sound, like “In Between” off of their third album, Floral Green (much respect to them for sticking to their creative flow).  Overall, while it was not the absolute best Title Fight crowd I have been a part of, I have yet to see these guys play anything less than a solid set.

Finally, La Dispute came out strong, opening with one of their most popular and powerful songs, “King Park”. The high energy and crushingly emotional tune set the tone for the remainder of the set, which took fans through honest highs with “Woman (In Mirror)” and gut-wrenching lows with “You and I in Unison”. Yet even more moving than the setlist was the overall ambience of The Crofoot from the moment La Dispute stepped on stage until the last note of the encore (“The Last Lost Continent”) was played. The connection between the band and audience was irrefutable and such an inspiring thing to be a part of. When a band has a following that is so diverse in nature, yet so connected by the internal battles that La Dispute artistically expatiates on with their music, concerts become more of a purging session, an emotionally unrestrained gathering of people attempting to make their peace. While that may seem irrational to some, it becomes ever the more clear after you hear the echoes of a sold out crowd yelling “Can I still get into heaven if I kill myself?” reverberate across an entire venue.

Bottom line: Give at least one of these bands a listen. With live shows this memorable, they all are worth taking a chance on.