Five quick thoughts on White Lung's show Wednesday at Kobo:
(1) Last time I saw White Lung, it was an outdoor set at Pitchfork's SXSW day party. "I haven't slept," singer Mish Way told us apologetically. I still ended up describing the performance as "a splash to face from a pitcher of ice water with razors in it." So you can imagine how White Lung sounds at night, in a tiny bar, ostensibly well-rested. There was violence in the air.
(2) A big part of that violence was Way's voice, a shrill shreik that somehow maintains its melodicism even when she's pushing it to the breaking point. So many great punk songs sound like rallying cries, and Way sings like somebody who knows how to lead a charge. It just so happens hers is a battle of ideas and ideals, calling foul play on men who choose vapid bed buddies just because they're hot and police that neglected to investigate murdered hookers.
(3) That said, Way is one of the most physical frontwomen in rock. Her vogued-out preacher hands are a huge part of White Lung's magnetic pull. Incidentally, it's pretty hilarious to imagine her pulling those moves on the ice back when she was a teenage figure skater.
(4) Actually, I'd like to see White Lung pull off an entire set on ice skates; given how locked in they were last night, it doesn't seem out of the question. Way gets most of the attention in White Lung, as singers do, but give credit to everybody else for blasting the crap out of their instruments in perfect time.
(5) In my interview with Way, she talked about her preference for illegal DIY venues over bars, though she was quick to counter those statements by saying there were some good bars in Vancouver too. Speaking as someone who operates almost entirely outside the house show scene, I'm glad there's some spillover between those worlds in Columbus or else I might never have heard Tight Bros, last night's uber-fun opening act, or even White Lung for that matter. I'm glad there are numerous venues willing to book abrasive music, and I'm glad most of those bands aren't too stuck-up to perform in bars. It's a good symbiosis.