What happens when the buzziest bands in Vancouver team up with a bunch of hardcore punks and regular Joes? A really tight show, that’s what.
With a smattering of local supporters (Men at Adventure, Systematik), as well as fellow luminaries the B-Lines, White Lung threw a release party at the Biltmore on May 24, for their latest LP, Sorry. The show’s sets were increasingly intense and visceral as the night wore on.
The Jesus Lizard-influenced noise-rockers Men at Adventure opened the night. Their urgent vocals and rolling-cloud heaviness imparted a touch of ‘90s locals Superconductor, to strong effect. Continuing with the Vancouverisms, Men at Adventure’s set ended quickly, the stage lights snapping off after they closed the set with the Mohawk Lodge-esque “The Ballad.”
Next up was Systematik, playing archetypical hardcore in a melange of styles. Their drummer was consistent and insistent, as were their guitarists. Simply put, it too was a well-executed set. Still, Systematik were visibly out of place. The sight of a crowd of fashionable, blasé and stationary mannequins surrounding the sweaty, rough-and-tumble circle pit was a hilarious one. After Systematik’s set, ironic Top 40 hits and ‘90s TV show themes dominated the PA system, awkwardly barging in between the grungy punk cuts that played between previous sets.
The penultimate slot was filled by the B-Lines, who put on a rowdy show, though this time the audience did most of the work. Don’t let the B-Lines’ playful countenance and new-wave/pop-punk stylings fool you; broken glass flew left and right as the pit in front of the Biltmore stage devolved into a scene out of Quincy, MD.
Tearing through what seemed to be their whole catalogue, the B-Lines’ set ended with singer Ryan Dyck shirtless and spewing a fountain of beer from his mouth, having freshly pounded out their potential smash hit, “Busy Man.”
Finally, White Lung lurched into action. A messy, grungy set, it started with 9/11 references, followed by rimshots and corny digs at ex-pat Australian ski bums and Sarah Jessica Parker. Mish Way crouched and writhed in the middle of the stage like an agonized burn-out, the sometimes crisp, sometimes muddy guitar work accentuating her jagged hollers, kind of like if Courtney Love was Diamanda Galas. The crowd’s mood in front of the stage lurched and swung, too, their movements gradually going from dejected shuffle to full-on slamming. Drummer Anne-Marie Vassiliou’s monstrous pounding on the skins seemed to be the only constant, as constant as the sirens punctuating the end of White Lung’s set, and the release party itself.