White Lung Horseshoe Tavern, Toronto ON, June 15
Published Jun 16, 2013Billed alongside Iceage and Fucked Up, Vancouver four-piece White Lung seemed in their element at the Horseshoe, establishing themselves as the latest addition to a pool of hardcore bands that, for one reason or another, earns kudos from the softer music market. Onstage, their fervour feels authentic: when, seconds in, the mic came unplugged, leopard-print-tighted singer Mish Way hurled it down, pounced two metres back and yelled lyrics inaudibly at the back wall, leaving a trampled-on roadie to frantically wiggle the lead back in. Mish Way doesn't deal with that crap, being the subtext.
Throughout this outburst and indeed the entire set, drummer Anne-Marie Vassiliou stared accusingly into her kit as though it had needlessly killed a close family pet. Likewise Kenneth Williams and Grady Mackintosh represented subtle threats with relentless guitar and bass, anchorage for the degenerate whirlwind of Mish Way. When she wasn't expelling second-hand water on stage or failing to balance empty bottles on her forehead ("I used to be able to do that," she shrugged), Way leaned into the crowd, towering menacingly and surveying her kingdom, a pit that subsumed fringe stragglers like dust in a hadron collider. Still, what struck you was her politeness — as an audience, we were thanked frequently for simply being there — and indeed, rather than contriving anger, Way's performance suggested an intimate kind of terror, something looming above. Twenty minutes after arrival the band were gone, a sea of mushy eardrums in their wake.