Vancouver’s White Lung have leapt onto the Canadian music scene with a series of ferocious 7-inches and a widely lauded debut, ‘It’s The Evil’, which earned them wide ranging plaudits from such tastemakers as Canada’s ‘Exclaim’, which dubbed it the best punk album of 2010.

They’re also relentless tourers, and their latest trip venture took them to Ottawa’s Babylon for a remarkably well-attended Tuesday show.

Local combo Caymans opened the show. Usually composed of a duo, they blend some avant-noise guitar with Moe-Tucker style drum thump. For this show, they were accompanied by a saxophonist, making them sound like the musical offspring of Morphine and Kim Salmon & The Surrealists, with Royal Trux for the midwife. Between blasts of primitive art rock, singer and guitarist Blake Hargreaves discouraged any undue enthusiasm with deadpan banter, suspicious song intros and go-nowhere stories (“First we arrived to unload ... then one of the other band came, and they wanted to unload too,” ... it sounded like less of a double entendre in person).

By the time Montreal’s Hand Cream hit the stage, the audience had expanded considerably. The three-woman, one-man outfit cites underground luminaries like Suicide, the Wipers and Silver Apples among their influences, and all that could be heard in the heavy throb, driven along by the hard hitting drumming of Christian Simms which turned their somewhat gothic recorded tracks into a sonic piledriver.

The last time White Lung performed at Babylon, the band played off the floor. This time, they graduated to the stage, and a good thing too as the crowd had filled out the room quite well.

The earfilling buzz of Kenneth William’s guitar and the crunching rhythm section of Grady Mackintosh and Anne-Marie Vassilou shoved the songs along under Mish Ways shouty vocals, giving a breakneck, nervous energy to their combination of hardcore and post punk. Their furious set generated audience moshing and fist-pumping, even for a slew of new material on their upcoming
sophomore effort, ‘Sorry’.

The audience was clearly hankering for more even after the band ripped out a quick two-song encore - but they’ll just have to wait a few more months, until the band returns, on yet another tour, in July.

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