This was an odd one. Flyers for the show advertised Ladyhawk, Lightning Dust and “very special guests.” I didn’t know what to expect going in—maybe a few extra members of Black Mountain. Instead, the crowd was treated to a full set by Guelph, Ontario’s Constantines. Interesting venue, too—the event was hosted by the clothing shop Lifetime Collective in Mount Pleasant.
Black Mountain side project Lightning Dust kicked off the night, and were somewhat disappointing live. Vocalist Amber Webber relied heavily on a shuddering, Grace Slick vocal effect, which was hauntingly effective for darker songs, but it began to feel overused when the band shifted into more upbeat territory. Their performance was competent but not captivating, and the loud and uninterested crowd didn’t help matters.
Ladyhawk was up next and they debuted quite a few new songs. With the exception of one song that seemed to take its inspiration from cheesy ‘80s metal, the new material sounded just like you’d expect: pummeling, grimy, sentimental bar-rock. They might be treading old ground, but when a band completely nails a sound you can’t fault them too much for sticking with it.
The Constantines took the floor soon after, looking every bit as tired as you’d expect them to be near the end of a long tour. Thankfully they didn’t let exhaustion get in their way, and nearly every song was delivered with an intensity beyond their already raw studio recordings.
Near-perfect renditions of old favourites “Nighttime/Anytime” and “Young Lions” finally shut most of the crowd up, and newer songs were done justice as well. The chugging bass-driven “Trans Canada” never sounded so menacing. A few songs with Steve Lambke on vocals were the low points of the set, but only because frontman Bryan Webb’s husky growl is so much better in comparison.
If you missed this, don’t worry too much—Lifetime Collective plans to host more shows like this. Good luck to them, though, because topping this one won’t be easy