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“Dispatch: The biggest band you’ve never heard…” A phrase that I’ve heard many times over the years. It’s also a phrase that makes absolutely no sense. “Dispatch: The band that defies all logic” is more like it.

“I’ve been waiting on line since 4:30!” proclaimed Hallie — Dispatch fan since ’97. Oddly enough, 4:30 wasn’t the earliest time I heard from fans on a line that stretched around the block. Dispatch was in town — a week early at that — and with that news came a flock of dedicated fans.

I’ll spare you the typical rehashing of the oddity that is Dispatch’s journey, instead I’ll give you the Cliff Notes. Braddigan, RePete, and Chetro came together at Middlebury College in the 90’s, toured a shit ton and encouraged fans to download their music through Napster. They amassed a worldwide following and played a “farewell show” to 100,000+ fans in 2004 — for free. Fast forward to 2007 when they reunited to play 3 sold-out shows at MSG to shed light on Zimbabwe (all proceeds went to various charities in the country). Sprinkle in a few more shows throughout the years until their official end to their hiatus in 2011 and you’ll end up at present day: their return to The Garden.

This time the boys are back to fight hunger in the US. They declare on their site that “we will stand up for a shared belief that food is a basic human right and that increasing access to food and economic resources is what gives people the power to exercise that right.” In addition to the two nights at MSG (July 10th w/ Dr. Dog & a sold out performance on July 11th w/ John Butler Trio), the boys will be hosting numerous service projects throughout the week to shed light on and do their best to put an end to hunger.

In typical Dispatch fashion, the guys realized that not everyone could afford the $50+ price point to catch them at The Garden, so they did what they do best: played a show for free. In partnership with Lexus and Pandora (who also provided an open bar all night!) ‘Patch fans were treated to an intimate pop up show with little notice. Not to upstage themselves for their upcoming MSG performances, the stage simply adorned with three guitars and light percussion.

The night was filled with previously unheard renditions of their popular songs, all played acoustically. I’d say more than half of the songs were sang by the crowd, even louder than the guys on stage. We even forgave Pete for forgetting the lyrics to “Lightning” and gladly filled in the spaces between his solos.

If you’re free this Friday, tickets are still available for their show with Dr. Dog. If you’d like to lend your efforts to fight hunger, you can check out the various events being held this week here.