White Lung / Black Lungs The Shop @ Parts & Labour, Toronto ON April 1
Published Apr 02, 2011We all love this big, vast country of ours, but the sheer enormity of the thing makes it awfully hard for touring bands from one side of the nation to traverse to the other. Vancouver has been pumping out its fair share of interesting and unconventional bands over the past few years, but precious few of them have been able to contend with the logistics and expense of cross-country touring. Toronto was lucky enough to witness one of the exceptions.
White Lung are one of the freshest and most exhilarating bands playing punk rock right now, and their highly acclaimed debut LP, It's the Evil (which topped Exclaim!'s best punk albums of 2010 list), is an uncompromisingly urgent punk rock statement-of-purpose -- a wild, tightly played, raging beast that strips the music down to its essentials.
Live, White Lung brought every ounce of that manic energy to the stage. Ripping up the basement at Parts & Labour, they sailed through their set with old-school fury. Guitarist Kenneth McCorkell lit up the room with an ear-bending array of muscular riffs, while bassist Grady Mackintosh and drummer Anne-Marie Vassiliou were absolutely rock-steady. Mish Way thrashed her lungs, and was effortlessly engaging and enigmatic, harnessing a controlled violence that managed to be passionate without going the least bit over-the-top. The band were so on their game, and the crowd so involved, that it felt as though everyone was hanging on for dear life. Right now, White Lung are firing on all cylinders.
Openers Black Lungs had a significantly shorter distance to travel. From "just up the street," they purveyed some traditional leather-lunged hairy hardcore, and were appropriately loud and rowdy. They delivered on what they promised, winning the room with their soon-to-be anthem, "Stay Outta Parkdale."