La Dispute is a band based in Grand Rapids, Michigan, whose five members have been making their presence known in the screamo/posthardcore/progressive music scene since August of 2004.
Originally, the band was made up of guitarists Derek Sterenberg and Kevin Whittemore, bassist Adam Kool, drummer Brad VanderLugt, and vocalist Jordan Dreyer (who also happens to be Brad’s cousin). Derek, Adam, and Brad had played together previously in another band, Calming Cadence, and Kevin also had previous experience playing in a band called Greenwood Court. Kevin and Brad had known each other for many years, since they were schoolmates during their elementary and middle school years. In 2006 the band underwent a couple of changes in personnel. Derek left to pursue school and youth ministry, and his brother Chad replaced him as guitarist. Bass player Adam Kool also left the band and was replaced by Adam Vass.
Over the past five years, the band has progressed from being a local band that frequently played at all-ages venues such as the DAAC (Division Avenue Arts Cooperative) and Skelletones (now known as Mixtape) in Grand Rapids, as well as youth groups and coffeehouses, to traveling around the state of Michigan. Over time they extended their influence to the Midwest states and beyond. In the past two years, La Dispute has gone on two tours of the United States, and this year went international with a short tour in the provinces of Ontario and Quebec, Canada, and a two-week stint in Australia, from which they just returned home in July. So far, all their touring has paid off well, for the most part, not only monetarily, but also in the experiences of seeing new places and meeting new people, among them other bands as well as La Dispute fans.
One of La Dispute’s favorite places to play has been the Cornerstone Festival in Bushnell, Illinois. Their first appearance there, in 2007, was due to their winning a spot on the New Artist’s Stage. They have played at Cornerstone to appreciative crowds for the past three years. (See my article on the Cornerstone Festival at www.associatedcontent.com/article/1578559/26th_annual_cornerstone_festival_to.html) . The guys also enjoy playing house shows, which they have done many times in the past year.
Seeing La Dispute in concert at a show at the former Skelletones last year, I was impressed with their musical ability and their rapport with the crowd of teens and college-age young people who came to see them. The guys of La Dispute definitely put their hearts into their music, and it comes out in their performance. It is obvious they enjoy what they do—-creating music with interesting rhythm patterns, great technical precision, and expressive and poetic lyrics that clearly resonate with their audience. The audience interacted quite enthusiastically with the guys, singing along to some of the songs and doing some crowd-surfing and stage diving.
La Dispute is currently signed with an indie label, NoSleep Records, and has five releases on both CD and vinyl. Their discography includes the following:
“Vancouver,” released as a CD in April 2006 and as a 12-inch vinyl LP in September of 2008.
“La Dispute” 7-inch vinyl with two songs, released in May 2008.
“Here, Hear” mini-CD, released in May 2008.
“Here, Hear II” 7-inch vinyl, released November 2008.
The full-length CD, “Somewhere at the Bottom of the River Between Vega and Altair,” was also released in November 2008.
For information on ordering music, T-shirts, and other merchandise, go to
www.myspace.com/ladispute or www.nosleepstore.com . You can also get La Dispute’s music at iTunes.
Band information, booking information, and tour dates are available at the band’s MySpace site. The band has also posted pictures from their Australian tour at www.ladisputemusic.com . Check them out.
So what is next on the agenda for La Dispute? Currently, they are making plans for a European tour sometime next year. As for the near future, they plan to start working on new music. Their fan base continues to grow, and the future is looking bright indeed. It will be interesting to see just what it holds for La Dispute.
Resources include the above listed links, and my own personal knowledge and experience.