La Dispute at the Nile Theater in Mesa, AZ

Rounding out the end of their tour, La Dispute made a stop at the Nile Theater in Mesa, AZ on December 11th. The Nile is a little coffee shop by day that features two concert venues by night: The Nile Theater and the more intimate, Nile Underground. Taking over the theater space, La Dispute was accompanied by Empath and scene favorite Touché Amoré. First to take the stage was Empath, a relatively new quartet comprised of a guitarist/vocalist, drummer, and unique duel synthesizers with about 20,000 monthly Spotify listeners. Personally, this writer doesn’t care for overly synth-y music, so this wasn’t his cup of coffee (get it? Cuz it was in a coffee house), but much of the crowd seemed pleasantly surprised and got down with this band.

Next to take the stage was Touché Amoré. The crowd was stoked starting at sound check. They opened with "~" and from the first chord, the crowd was a battleground. The energy this band brought to the stage and to the crowd was incredible. And they did not disappoint. About mid-way through the show, La Dispute singer, Jordan Dreyer, made a two-song appearance. Based on the chemistry between La Dispute and Touché Amoré, and later confirmed by in-between song dialogue, these two bands had been friends for a long time. Jeremy Bolm of Touché Amoré returned the favor during the La Dispute set. And later, even played a little joke of tying a banana to a cord and lowering it down during La Dispute’s set. That’s just simply the kind of stuff that makes you want to see these bands together more often. Before departing, Touché Amoré promised some big news for 2020 and urged fans to keep an eye out. Maybe a new album? Maybe another awesome tour? Maybe both? Regardless, this is definitely something to keep up on.

And finally, the headlining act, La Dispute. This band fails to disappoint. The scene was set with a backdrop, salt lamps, even their own colored lights controlled by them to set their specific moods. The image was crafted as beautifully as their music. And the crowd definitely responded to it. It was not as rowdy as Touché Amoré, but neither is La Dispute. They played a healthy mix of old and new music. They spoke very fondly of their tour mates, as most artists do, but gave special thanks to Touché for being by their side for nearly the past decade.

Before starting their encore, Dreyer took a moment to introduce the next song, "The Last Continent."

“This song was written on our first tour 10 years ago, when we were playing for donations and a place to sleep,” speaking on their humble beginnings. He felt the song was almost a premonition to what the band would become. “This is not just music to listen to alone when life gets hard because life is fucking hard. It’s about the community that we all created, a place for us to be ourselves and be who we want to be. A place for us to feel safe.”

Then he led into an acknowledgement of how shitty people can be, “Fuck homophobia! Fuck transphobia! Fuck sexism! Fuck racism-” at this point the crowd cheers drowned out the rest of his "fuck hate” speech. A look around the room only really confirmed his message. There was a room full of people of different shapes, sizes, ages, perspectives, opinions- the only thing everyone had absolutely in common were the direction we were all facing and the music we were currently throwing our necks out to. It’s really not hard to see why this band has such an occult and loyal following.