L.S. Dunes just embarked on their second tour as a band. They included a stop at Irving Plaza in New York City to continue the celebration of their debut record, Past Lives. The band is a who’s who of emo and post-hardcore royalty, coming together to create a raw and relentlessly intriguing album that has instantly become a classic amongst fans of the genres.
Vocalist and ever-busy nomad Anthony Green (Circa Survive, Saosin, The Sound Of Animals Fighting) fronts the L.S. Dunes with Frank Iero (My Chemical Romance) and Travis Stever (Coheed & Cambria) on guitar, and Thursday’s Tim Payne and Tucker Rule on bass and drums. All of these bands are legendary in their own right. Contributing iconic albums to the scene for more than 20 years and harnessing some of the most dedicated fan bases out there. Refusing to be labeled a ‘supergroup,’ the band leaves their members’ notoriety behind in favor of a stripped-back appreciation for their roots.
Walking around Irving Plaza as the crowd filled in, you could not help but notice all the merchandise on show. All of the bands represented by the L.S. Dunes members have been on tour in recent years, and those tour shirts were worn in droves by the audience. Groups of friends wearing Coheed and My Chemical Romance tour shirts chatted at the bar whilst Anthony Green’s many projects were heavily represented around the room.
As soon as the lights went out and L.S. Dunes took the stage, it became immensely clear that the fame of the boy’s prior projects was not at all why the room was sold out.
A concise, 12-song setlist contained all of Past Lives along with their recently released single, “Benadryl Subreddit.” The thunderous “Bombsquad” opened the show, kicking off with shrieking guitar chords while Anthony Green lamented, “Dissolve the fascination/I know the sins reflect/In my imagination/Nature I’ve convinced to care/I don’t want to wait in purgatory/Televised evacuation airs/On the other side of every camera/This side won’t be shared.”
By the set’s second song, “Like Forever,” the energy was so overwhelming even the band was taken aback, with Green saying, “Holy shit, the energy you brought tonight is unreal.” The show rolled on, with the tracks being played out of album order. An endless conveyor belt of crowd surfers made their way to the stage, with Green personally greeting them as they got to the barricade.
Past Lives is a dense record, both musically and lyrically. Anthony is no stranger to abstract lyricism, but his stream-of-consciousness storytelling really shines in this new outlet. His vocal prowess shines no matter what room he is singing in, reverberating crystal clear over all the noise. Frank and Travis shred post-hardcore guitar riffs and bounce around the stage as if they were teenagers playing basements again. Tim and Tucker have been laying down the rhythms together for a couple of decades, and their chemistry kept everything grounded.
Since their debut tour, L.S. Dunes released the new single “Benadryl Subreddit.” No word yet on if the song is a stand-alone track or part of some longer project, but the song blends right into the setlist. The chunky rhythms drive along to Green’s relentless mantra, “We won’t go back ever again/We won’t go back ever again/No, we won’t!”
All of the band members exhibit terrific energy when playing with their own respective bands, but tonight, L.S. Dunes turned back the clock to the early days of their live music careers. They performed with youthful bliss. Not focused on technical perfection but rather feeding off of each other and the crowd while living in the moment. These musicians are used to having crews constantly switching out guitars and building large gear stacks on stage. The guitars they carried on stage themselves were never unplugged from the small amps sitting right on the floor. The night was instead all about the music, in a sweaty, intimate club with passion boiling over onto the street.
The show truly was a spectacle. It’s rare that a band with only one album, regardless of who the members are, can garner such a wild emotional response from a devoted fanbase. L.S. Dunes means something different to the crowd that made it out. We all put the stress of our daily lives to the side to scream along to a rejuvenating concert from our icons. Removed from the luster of the big-name headliners, Anthony, Frank, Tim, Tucker, and Travis were one of us tonight. Singing, moshing, and thriving, immersed in the purest form of live music.
Irving Plaza was just the beginning of L.S. Dunes’ new tour leg. They cross the country over the next month, with fellow post-hardcore rockers Pinkshift in support. Head over to their website for the full tour details, and check out idobi’s photo gallery from Irving Plaza below.