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Review: La Dispute, Sports Bra


Review: La Dispute, Sports Bra

Tom Johnston

Post-hardcore legends La Dispute returned last night to the Lion Arts Factory, touring their latest album Panorama. Making the walls smaller, while the voices of the crowd ever louder, it was only the third stop on La Dispute’s mammoth 15 date tour. With every note found and lyric sung, it was a shared experience, shaped by their concern for space as much as sound. 

Sydney act Sports Bra opened with a land acknowledgement before diving into their fluid, yet driving sound. From songs reflecting inward to outward statements about the world around them, Sports Bra celebrated diversity, while giving focus to individuality. While many vocal lines were lost to the room acoustics, shimmering, spiraling guitar lines brought musicianship to the fore. As if journal lyrics turned house show anthems, the band welcomed us into their space - and will be welcomed back in due time I’m sure.

Opening with the singles and first two tracks from their latest album, La Dispute exuded control, subtlety and sheer professionalism. Shifting from new songs to old, they put their whole back catalog on display - as if each album was new and fresh in their mind. From ‘a Departure’ and through ‘Sad Prayers for Guilty Bodies’, every hit was felt and responded to by the audience. Vocalist Jordan Dreyer echoed a saying that we don’t just need safe spaces, but radical inclusion with his emphasis on not just feeling safe, but being allowed the opportunity to thrive. The walls of the venue became his canvas, and we were all invited to participate in the painting. With every line screamed back onto the stage, it was collaborative, shared. Dreyer could rely on the audience, and knew which lyrics meant the most. Easing the set into ‘Woman (In Mirror)’, this was only the gateway however, into their final set of songs. Closing with their most thematically difficult song ‘King Park’, the band’s presence lifted the stage into a final moment of tension. A moment of tension we were left with, a tension that might only be resolved the next time La Dispute are in town. Of course, it might be a while till they return and make our venue both a time-capsule and as Dreyer described, an imperfect “refuge”.

Photo take by @jezpennington