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The Mass Media

The Mass Media

DISPATCH Headlines Comcast Center

Courtesy+of+BB+Gun+PR%0A

Courtesy of BB Gun PR

DISPATCH is a unique band, one which has only been able to make it onto the fringes of mainstream culture. They have never had a number one hit, never performed at an awards show, and never been signed to a record label, but through word of mouth, online file sharing, and a spectacular live show, they’ve managed to build a large and loyal following.
Chad Stokes, Brad Corrigan, and Pete Francis reunited in 2011 after a seven-year hiatus and have been back on the road ever since. The band stopped at the Comcast Center on June 8 in support of last year’s release, “Circles Around The Sun.” Loyal fans who have been with the band since the early days (the late ’90s) were out in full force, nearly filling the massive amphitheater. Not bad for a band without a deal.
DISPATCH has always been hard to pin into a genre. You hear them described as a folk band, a rock band, a reggae band, and even a hip-hop fusion band, but in reality they are all of these things and more. They are pioneers of the jam rock genre, effortlessly adding solos and snippets that take a four minute song and turn it into an eight minute adventure, like they did with “Passerby” and “Past The Falls” at this show.
Their diverse music shined over the course of the evening, and would have satisfied fans of nearly every genre. The dynamic performance was heavy on harmonies, banjo solos, and the band’s real claim to fame: instrument switching.
“Time Served” was a great early highlight. Stokes, a Boston native, plays a fantastic solo as part of one of the band’s signature jams. Although they do bring out guest musicians for a number of tracks, this one was done by just the trio. It’s hard to believe that much music comes out of just three peopl.
The guys shined on new tracks off “Circles Around The Sun” all night. The title track, “Get Ready Boy,” and “Josaphine” were all fantastic and fresh, as were some of their old favorites. “Here We Go” has always been a mainstay at DISPATCH shows, but a fresh breakdown in the middle, as well as a snippet of the deep cut (but fan favorite) track “Railway” brought it to new heights.
The crowd, while not a sellout, enthusiastically got down to their old favorites, but “The General,” “Flying Horses,” and “Elias” drew the loudest singalongs of the night.
The night’s best song was “Bats In The Belfry.” The classic reggae rock track was played at a furious pace with a very energetic jam in the middle that had the crowd bouncing for all six minutes. “Bats” was immediately followed by “The General,” the closest thing the band has had to a mainstream hit, so the crowd erupted when Stokes played the opening riff.
Over the course of the night, DISPATCH showed what it takes for a band to build a following the old-fashioned way. They played for a solid two hours and fifteen minutes, they mixed in new material with old standbys to keep everyone satisfied, and they made sure to give plenty of nods to their Boston roots. All in all, it was a stellar hometown concert from a band that’s been honing their craft for nearly 20 years.