WHITE LUNG at Duffy's Tavern, Saturday, April 14. Rating: NNN
White Lung looked uncomfortable from the moment they first took the stage.
The female-dominated Vancouver punk band spent their first few minutes appealing to an apparently non-existent sound guy before they even played a note, and drummer Anne-Marie Vassiliou broke her rented kick pedal by the end of the first song.
Things only got worse from there.
An unrelenting heckler got under lead singer Mish Way's skin early in the set. "You think you can sing better than me? Go right ahead," she challenged, and the alcohol-fuelled shit disturber actually took her up on it. But they stopped the fan-sung experiment after a minute or so and kicked the cynic to the curb.
Frustration isn't necessarily a negative trait for a punk band, and it certainly didn't seem to detract from White Lung's noisy-yet-tuneful battering melodic assault, Way's melodic, scratchy vocals a highlight despite her obvious annoyance.
And the packed-in crowd kept up the energy in the brimming backroom of the incongruously old-school Duffy's Tavern, even succeeding to bring the band back for a reluctant encore.
I'd never suggest that an audience deliberately aggravate a touring band, but it seemed to do the trick on this night.