White Lung, SHARPTOOTH at Stereo, 6/11/14

It’s not long since we covered Glasgow quartet SHARPTOOTH launching their latest single down at the 13th Note, so it comes as no real surprise that their set doesn’t vary much on the raised stage of Stereo.

Their set begins with a never-giving, pounding rhythm creating an admirable wall of sound over hypnotic almost chanted vocals before ‘Invidia’ crys out post punk over a strong rhythm and sparse yet urgent vocals.

 

The set continues through a delightful yet haunting take on loud of-fi fuzzy pop and as they close on driving new single ‘Sister’, there’s no doubt these girls are on the right track.

Vancouver four-piece White Lung has been going a fair while and although they are now starting to find success further afield tonight’s crowd feels a little sparse.

This doesn’t seem to bother the band as they accelerate into their fast paced punk from the off and set about warming the crowd as frontwoman Mish Way snarls “it’s burning you” while aggressively pointing at the crowd in the demonic ‘Sycophant’.

The sharp hooky dirge of ‘Down It Goes’ follows as Way’s vocals deliver plenty of attitude, indeed this attitude is vital in their live set, Way’s lyrics have always been important in White Lung’s feminist message, but in such an uncompromising live set it’s not easy to make out every statement.

Expressive hand movements punctuate the nasty snarl of ‘Drown The Monster’ and just as you think the energy on stage is making up that the static off it, the crowd seems to spark into action and doesn’t give until the end.

The band gives them no reason to slow down either, as the whole 35-minute set is a bracing experience, it’s loud, fast and aggressive with no breathing space, but it’s also full of addictive melodies that separate White Lung out from their peers.

It’s not surprising Courtney Love is a fan, the Hole influence is clearly, there’s no doubt 20 years ago White Lung would have had more commercial success than seems possible in 2014.

The hair in face, rapid-fire velocity of ‘Face Down’ gives us another blast of power through Way’s menacing register, Kenneth Williams’s buzzsaw guitar and Anne-Marie Vassiliou’s relentless drumming.

“We have to go to Russia tomorrow,” declares Way giving an almost manic laugh, “they don’t like screaming women there,” before closing the set on opening track from 2012’s Sorry, ‘Take The Mirror’.

There’s no encore, but what those collected in Stereo have received is a vicious yet savvy set of infectious raw sound, all delivered at breakneck speed while maintaining sweet pop hooks, if there is to be a feminist punk revival then White Lung will be leading the way.

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Words: Iain Dawson

Photos: Michael Gallacher

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