Chuck Schuldiner Project

Friday, November 21, 2014

White Lung in Paris (@Le Point Ephémère, 20/11/2014)

Last night's gig was one full of surprises. For one, one of the last things I was expecting when I showed up to check out this promising young punk outfit from Canada was to find my age group in a very large minority. I'm willing to bet I was just as surprised as the band as they stepped on stage to find themselves facing an audience well into their thirties. However that's just a detail; let's get on with the show.

The second surprise waiting for me that evening would be the opening band: Headwar. I certainly wasn't the only one to be hit by surprise by this local 4-piece's loud and abrasive form of noise rock fused with industrial and zeuhl music. For the connoisseurs of these genres, think Big Black fused with some Test dpt and the sonic and stage insanity of Boredoms.
The band switched between a wide range of crazy tinkered instruments that each sounded more dissonant and abrasive than the last. Honorable mentions included springs and cymbal-guitar hybrids. I was absolutely baffled to hear how coherent of a sound they managed to create by literally torturing their instruments (playing guitar by hitting the strings with drumsticks or using a drill, sticking cymbals under guitar strings). One of the bands' structuring points was their incredible rhythmic coordination, which turned what could have been a half hour of unbearable sonic chaos into an exciting half hour of sonic chaos. The best description of the overall sound would be that of tribal music from a grim post-apocalyptic setting.
The band left the stage with a room full of newly converted fans, me included. If you have a chance to catch these sociopaths on stage, do not miss out and do not forget to bring ear protection.

Now unfortunately for me, Headwar would be the last good surprise for me that evening, as I would soon find. White Lung took to the stage and went straight to business, firing their doses of high-speed punk into the audience one after the other, like a machine gun. Female vocalist Mish Way and bassist Hether Fortune were all dressed up in a glamorous fashion that is uncommon for punk bands to say the least. The girls even put on some glossy lipstick and glitter makeup for the occasion. To get back to the music, the bands' set was not one marked with much diversity but that was to be expected.
Unfortunately for the band, tonight’s' show was plagued by a bad sound, with the bass drum being too loud during the first songs and vocals that were too low in the mix. Nevertheless, the clear guitar sound kept the show going. The band did not move so much on stage, the vocalist doing a few sexy dance moves but barely ever leaving her mic stand. The crowds' extreme stasis was badly compensated by the vocalists' poor charisma during stage banter. These awkward interactions did somehow still manage to hint towards a unpleasant amount of ego from the vocalist.
After what seemed like 20 minutes into the set, the band stepped offstage for what I thought was a brief yet curious intermission. The band finally stepped back onstage and resumed playing. This time, most of the mixing issues were resolved; the vocals were at the right level. After playing one song, the band left the stage again, to my utter confusion. I asked around, genuinely confused, only to find out that this was no intermission earlier, and that last song was the encore! The band had hit the stage and blasted off blitzkrieg-style without a thank you or goodbye after a set lasting barely over 45 minutes. 

Thus the evening ended on a final bad surprise, leaving me with a strong sense of genuine disappointment. Even if it meant playing both their albums back-to-back, I stand by the fact that I think the band should have put more effort into putting together a decently sized setlist for their European headlining tour.
The first bad concert review was bound to happen sometime and really I hate to say this, but this is one tour I do not recommend. However, what I will recommend is to check out their sound and hope that the band will return with a more convincing set next time around.

White Lung's Lightning-fast setlist

White Lung

Official Website

No comments:

Post a Comment