WHITE LUNG with TEENANGER and TV FREAKS at Hard Luck Bar (722a Dundas West), Monday (April 22), 8 pm, all ages. $10. RT, SS, TW, UE. See listings.
After years spent driving in smelly vans, wheat-pasting posters and loading gear into basements, the members of Vancouver punk band White Lung are enjoying a bit of luxury. But just a bit.
"We've been touring for a long time," says lead singer Mish Way over the phone from Atlanta on the second leg of a U.S. jaunt.
"That's punk tours, where you're stuck sleeping in plastic lawn chairs night after night. So now that there's provisions and hotels and money, it's kind of nice."
White Lung have been steadily rising from Vancouver's underground, but the release of their 2012 sophomore album, Sorry (Deranged), put them on the radar beyond the alternate DIY punk network.
That album's ferocious mix of snarling hooks and hardcore urgency (together, the 10 songs clock in at under 20 minutes) found sympathetic ears at publications as big as Rolling Stone, and suddenly White Lung started getting invites to festivals like NXNE and Pitchfork.
"A big, nice venue feels weird," Way admits. "The best shows are the ones where everyone is crammed into some basement or warehouse. I don't like to be super-removed up on a stage, but I'm figuring out how to make it work."
Perhaps that's why they're playing the divey Hard Luck Bar Monday, which feels much like Duffy's Tavern, where Way gave up her microphone to a heckling fan, and the now-defunct Garage, where the police shut them down early.
It's tempting to view the choice of venue as a response to backlash from early fans put off by the Pitchfork push, but Way won't dismiss that website as easily as some.
"Pitchfork? Yeah, fine, there's a stigma. But some individuals working there are really great, and that's what makes it influential. There are lots of cool young women writers, too."
Way should know. She is one herself. Contributing regularly for publications like Vice and AUX, she's able to write regularly about music and culture from the viewpoint of a punk rocker with a degree in gender studies.
"I'm glad I'm able to see both sides," she says. "It gives me a sharper perspective."