La Dispute, Touché Amoré, and Empath at the Palladium

La Dispute is a post-hardcore spoken word band hailing from Grand Rapids, Michigan. They’re best known for their heart-wrenching lyrics, whispered or yelled over strong hardcore-inspired instrumentals. Over the last 11 years they’ve been releasing music that tells the stories of everything from their struggles with mental illness to drive-by shootings, to heartbreak, to a tornado tearing apart a small midwestern town.

The first opener at the Pallidium on November 23rd, Empath, alternated between ambient interludes and intense, fast hardcore-inspired tracks. The Philadelphia band is noise punk and genre-bending.

Next up, Touché Amoré came on stage, bringing their classic post-hardcore sound to the crowd. Their emocore aesthetic and sound is reminiscent of the best parts of 90’s screamo, but their recent releases, like their newest single Deflector, show that their sound is still evolving. Touché Amoré frontman Jeremy Bolm electrified the pit with his undeniable energy.

La Dispute hasn’t toured with Touché Amoré since 2011: the reunion clearly brought out a nostalgic crowd of dedicated fans. Both acts played many fan favorites from older albums: it seemed to be a nostalgic show for both the bands and the fans. They reminisce on the much smaller crowd that they drew the last time they played together in Worcester, and how far they’ve come since then.

La Dispute played tracks from albums throughout the years. Delicate and precise instrumentals were layered underneath their poetic lyrics.

Hardcore shows and mosh pits have not historically been the most welcoming places. However, La Dispute juxtaposes the loud and sometimes abrasive quality of their sound with quiet reminders between songs to “be kind to your neighbours” and respect the space we are mutually building. His message doesn’t fall on deaf ears - compared to other similar shows, the crowd is exceptionally considerate. There is so much kindness in the midst of the chaos of the pit - a man drops his glasses and those around him hold their arms up so he can bend down to find them, a woman falls and those around her help her back up.

“Spaces like this are sacred,” said La Dispute frontman Jordan Dreyer. He used the space between songs to speak out about the charity Calling All Crows, which is dedicated to ending sexual violence in the music industry. Posters around the venue boast in bright white letters “WANNA DANCE?”, reminding everyone how easy it is to gain consent. Posters in the bathrooms remind all attendees of who they can speak to at the venue or from the band’s team if they’re having an uncomfortable experience. By placing this emphasis on creating a safe show for everyone, bands like La Dispute make the scene a more welcoming place.

Their latest album, Panorama, is available now on Spotify. Donations to the charity Calling All Crows can be made at

//Peyton Benac is a DJ for Record Hospital