Tuesday, 7 May 2013

White Lung at Il Motore

White Lung | Il Motore

           PHOTOS  |  VALERIA VEGA
On April 21st I went to Il Motore to watch White Lung perform. I’ve been to this venue a couple of times already, so I’ll spare you the usual extreme-detail description that I usually give to spaces where there is live music. This show was a little bit different from the usual indie rock fare that I normally cover; this was a punk event through and through. The people there were mostly punks, but there were also a number of metal dudes and indie kids. It is always nice to see some patch-laden denim “battle vests” in an audience, and there were a good number of those here. I think the only sour note on the night was the quality of the live sound; the drum kit was not mic’d as there appeared to be a shortage of microphones in the building. The drums lacked clarity and, as a consequence, the music as a whole ended up sounding a little muddy. I saw three bands perform on that night, and they all entertained me and captured my imagination as a fan of punk rock.

 Heartsover is a mostly-female (their guitarist is a dude) local five piece. They employ catchy vocal melodies, fast-paced chord strumming, and a heavy use of the “d-beat” style of drumming. If you don’t know what that last bit means, then consult Discharge’s 1982 album Hear Nothing See Nothing Say Nothing as a prime example of what I’m talking about (this is a much, much poppier take on that style, though!). They played fast, loose, and from the gut, which is something that I appreciate. I hope to see this band again in the near future.

Thee Nodes is another local group. Their appearance immediately sets them apart from most bands that you will see in this town. The frontman wore a business suit and had wrapped his head almost entirely in bandages, the bassist had waist-length black hair, and the drummer was clad only in sneakers, a pair of thong underwear, and a nylon for his head. The vocalist introduced himself and his band to the audience by telling everyone to shut up and delivering a speech that included “I only believe in three things: rock, the letter n, and roll.” They then blasted into a set of songs reminiscent of early hardcore; stylistically, I would say that their music bore the most similarity to Bad Brains’ 1982 self-titled album. There was a small circle pit going on while they played. The vocalist had used a harmonizer effect on his voice, and he continued to tell the audience to shut up after every song. He did not want applause, and threatened to stop playing if the audience continued to clap after every song. The crowd did not cease applauding the band, so the vocalist dropped his microphone and ran off the stage toward the green room, shouting “no more songs!” I think their set lasted maybe ten or fifteen minutes. It was interesting stuff, and I would watch it again.

White Lung, a band from Vancouver, finally took the stage at the end of the night. Its particular brand of punk rock is unique, because of guitarist Kenneth William’s jangly and delay-ridden riffs that tend to be based in the upper register, as well as Mish Way’s soaring and powerful vocals. In that sense, this band stands apart quite a bit from most other punk bands in the scene, and their innovation has rewarded them with a most well-deserved notoriety. There is no simple chord-bashing with these guys! As such, most of their set was made up of prime cuts from their 2012 album Sorry. Almost as soon as they started playing, a huge mosh pit formed on the dance floor. It took up a good two thirds of the available floor space on the venue’s lower level, and the pit’s participants gave all they had. There was some brotherly (and sisterly) love among the participants, though, as people would pick up those who had fallen down and so on. It was a very welcome sight. After they finished, the crowd was so moved that they called for an encore that was granted by the band. It was a great high-energy set, and I can’t wait to see White Lung when they come through Montreal again.

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