Forget trying to slap a label on Dispatch. You’re welcome to give it a shot, plenty of people have, calling them at times a heartfelt acoustic trio, a wailing rock band, a devil-may-care funk act, but the band defies epithets at every turn. When they hear a description of their music, they just grab the closest instrument and switch things up in an effort to keep the stereotype-slingers at bay. It’s nothing personal, it’s just that they find inventiveness more interesting than playing it safe and churning out the kind of neat little ditties that people listen to for a week and then forget.
While Dispatch has managed to keep itself comfortably outside the chintzy glare of pop music’s spotlight, the industry nonetheless noticed them. Rolling Stone hailed Who Are We Living For? as one of the 10 best albums of 2001, and more than a few heads turned when that record debuted at 18 on Billboard’s internet sales chart (ahead of Sting!). For almost ten years, the three members of Dispatch cranked out music on their own label, Bomber Records, without help from a major record company. Propelled by the word-of-mouth and internet campaigning of their massive underground fan base, Dispatch has seen coast-to-coast sellouts at major venues like Roseland (NYC), the Fillmore (San Francisco), the Fillmore (Denver), Central Park (NYC), the Electric Factory (Philadelphia), the Fleet Pavilion (Boston), the 9:30 Club (DC), and many more.
But the concert to top all concerts was The Last Dispatch, a free musical farewell at the Hatch Shell in Boston in July 2004. When the three college friends decided to call it quits, over 110,000 fans from 25 countries mobbed the unsuspecting venue, making it the largest independent music event in history (outdrawing Phish’s swan song by 50,000 and the multi-band fest Bonnaroo by almost 20,000).
In July 2007, the trio reunited for “DISPATCH: ZIMBABWE”, an unprecedented three-night benefit at Madison Square Garden in NYC. Dispatch became the first independent band to sell-out the legendary arena (three nights no less) and more importantly, proved the healing power of music as the band and fans collectively raised funds and awareness for poverty stricken Zimbabwe.