Review: Dispatch Returns to Boston – Saturday Night at Agganis

Boston’s hometown band, Dispatch, continued  their paradoxical career at another sell-out in Beantown at the Agganis Arena on Saturday night. Famously packing 150,000 into Boston’s hatch shell in 2004, quickly selling out three straight shows at Madison Square Garden in 2007 and three nights at the Boston Garden during last summer’s triumphant reunion tour after an extended hiatus, it was no surprise to see a packed house at the more intimate Agganis that has a capacity of about 6,000. Without much radio play or a major label supporting them and ten years without a tour, Dispatch continues to attract both a college crowd as well as older fans that remember enjoying  the hometown band at such haunts as the Paradise, Harper’s Ferry and TT The Bears.

[Chad Urmston gets the energy rolling with Bats in the Belfry]

The indie rockers filled their two-plus hour set with old fan favorites as well as tracks from 2012’s Circle Around The Sun. The fifth studio album is the first to be released in over ten years and like most of Dispatch’s album history, shares songwriting credits among all the band members – Chad Urmston, Pete Heimbold and Brad Corrigan. Just like the album, the show featured a nice chemistry among the bandmates allowing each to contribute equally and share the spotlight. The opening three songs of Time Served, Bats in the Belfry and the title track from Circles Around the Sun showcased the medley of acoustic rock, reggae and classic rock mixed with a dollop of funk and jamming that have endeared the band to its fans. Though Dispatch clearly relishes in the arena style rockers, with everyone singing along on such numbers as Bang Bang, Two Coins and fan-favorite The General, they were just as comfortable in the more serene & wistful songs such as Outloud and Josaphine.

 

[Brad Corrigan wails on the harmonica]

Fans of Dispatch were no doubt thrilled with the 20 plus song effort which also included a cover of Paul Simon’s Mother and Child Reunion. Those experiencing Dispatch for the first time were likely smitten by the lively show and the abundantly obvious connection that the band has with its fans. Highlights of the show included the numbers that opening act The Parkington Sisters joined the band on. This Cape Cod based quartet added rich depth and lushness, to a sometimes thin sound, with accordion and violin to several tunes including Flag and Feels So Good. Dispatch never strays too far from their path with a comfortable, feel-good vibe of catchy songs with nice melodies and enjoyable grooves. A final encore of the always welcome, Elias, had many fans still singing the chorus as they were leaving the venue…many of them likely on their way to Sunday’s performance at the Brighton Music Hall, also in Boston.

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[Fan favorite, The General]

 

Setlist:

Time Served, Bats in the Belfry, Circles Around the Sun, Here We Go, Sign of the Times, Bang Bang, Lightning, Feels So Good, Flag, Outloud, Beto, Two Coins, Flying Horses, Josaphine, Melon Bend, Passerby, The General, Open Up

Encore: Get Ready Boy, Mother and Child Reunion, Elias

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