Sunday, 5 January 2014

Pit Report: Headstones

     Remember how we went to see Headstones here in Kingston last Saturday night? Here's the story of that fabled evening.

     The opening act was a local one, Kingston's The Glorious Sons, a blues-rocky/classic rocky kinda band that's been getting a fair amount of local radio airplay lately. They weren't bad, and their singer has a decent set of rock pipes on him, but they don't yet quite have the chops required to captivate an audience that perhaps they think they do. Emblematic of the kind of thing I'm talking about was the aforementioned singer's repeated exhortations that the audience should sing along, as they knew the words.

     I know I'm probably just being picky, and that's probably just some stage banter, but I don't think anyone should expect an audience to eat out of the palm of their hand, so to speak, just because they've gotten up on a stage in front of said audience. Stage presence doesn't just happen, it has to be earned.

     Which brings me nicely to the evening's main event, the Headstones, whose frontman Hugh Dillon could give classes on commanding a stage. Not one but two roadies spent the majority of the set chasing Dillon's mic cord or stand around as Hugh alternated between ranging from one end of the stage to the other and hurling the stand between verses. Of course, it likely didn't hurt Dillon's energy or persona any that Headstones too are a Kingston band, and have had the status of local legends for more than twenty years.

     That's a long time in rock and roll, and that's a deep catalogue too, even taking into account Headstones' lengthy hiatus in the early 2000's. Dillon and company mined that catalogue well, striking a balance between tracks off their latest, Love + Fury, and classic tracks from throughout their career. "Smile and Wave", "Cubically Contained", "Tweeter and the Monkey Man"... Headstones covered all their classic Headstones bases.

     If alternative rock with a punky edge sounds at all appealing to you, you should check out Headstones. And if you're already a fan of the band, you should make the effort to catch them if they head back on the road at all. After all this time, Headstones have still got what The Glorious Sons are only just forging: the ability to thoroughly rock a crowd. Take some notes, boys. Professor Dillon's class is in session.

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