Jam band rocks out in Toronto

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For only their second time ever, American jam band Dispatch entertained an adoring crowd at The Sound Academy last Monday night.

Playing together from 1996-2002, Dispatch began touring again in 2011. Monday night marked their first foray in Canada since their hiatus.

Pennsylvania-based indie-rock trio, the Good Old War, opened the show. Their energetic stage presence captured the audience’s attention and their feel good music had everyone swaying.

Near the end of their set, they announced that their drummer did a perfect Harry Belafonte impression. Upon belting out an impressive “Day-O,” an impromptu call-and-answer sing-a-long erupted to the famous “Banana Boat Song.”

Dispatch took to the stage around 9 p.m. Having grown up on their music while at camp, I was overwhelmed to see one of my favourite bands merely a few feet away from me.

The seemingly intimate crowd at The Sound Academy provided the perfect setting, as Dispatch was able to develop a comedic rapport with the audience.

Mainly playing songs off of their early albums, the band covered a variety of genres including hard rock, blues and reggae, as well as their signature acoustic style.

Stand-out pieces included “Wild Horses” and “Bats in the Belfry,” both of which had the audience jumping and singing along.

Putting a modern spin on some of their classic songs such as “Two Coins” and “The General” was refreshing as it showed their versatility and ability to adapt to a maturing fan base.

After an hour and a half of non-stop music, Dispatch left the stage but was quickly ushered back for a three-song encore.

Closing with the “Elias,” which is also the name of one of the band’s charities, Dispatch graciously thanked the audience for their support.

Leaving the venue, one could overhear snippets of conversation, where everyone was in awe of the concert. It was simple; no flashy light-shows or special effects, just Dispatch’s timeless music transporting the crowd to previous point in life.

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