underground since'89

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Monday, February 22, 2010

White Lung & Nü Sensae

A week ago I got a chance to see White Lung (Vancouver BC) play with their new guitarist:

White Lung - Atlanta from Ryan D. Anderson on Vimeo.

It was a bummer to find out that Natasha Reich, their original guitarist, is not in the band anymore, but they still had great energy, cool songs and bring a fresh, young energy to punk.

They were on tour with Nü Sensae, who are also from Vancouver. The singer/bass player totally shreds:

NÜ SENSAE - Don't Panic from Michael Burnside on Vimeo.

We missed the opening group, Hell Womon and only caught the end of Kanako's solo project, but overall the show was fun and had a pretty cool vibe compared to a lot of shows I've been to in the past year. A lot of the all ages shows at Northern feel a little awkward and the hardcore/punk shows at Old School or various basements/houses too are just too male-dominated. At this show there were a lot of guys in the front and women/girls in the back or on the side, which was kind of a bummer but I found it was easy enough to push them out of the way so I could see. I really hate that this same dynamic still exists at shows that existed when I first started going to them back in 1983. Why are the guys so oblivious? Don't take up so much space! Step aside! Share the room. Sometimes I don't have the energy to push you aside and fight for somewhere to stand. But whatever, I often feel more comfortable lurking in the shadows and don't always have the energy to deal.

I have to say that it's really a shame that Natasha Reich is no longer in White Lung. They seemed more like a cohesive group with her in it. She is easily one of the best punk guitarists of this decade, male or female. I really hope to see her in a new group soon. White Lung show a lot of determination in keeping the group together without her. This energy and willpower came through in their performance, which was strong and focused. Still, something was missing. I hope to see them again soon and wish them the best of luck on their west coast tour. Go see them play if you get the chance! They are a really terrific group and Nü Sensae are pretty great live as well so don't miss out.

Here's a recent live track:

NU SENSAE - BURN ZERO from Kenneth McCorkell on Vimeo.


Melanie said...

Wow! This white lung band is awesome. I've never heard of them before. Thanks for posting about them.

jess said...

I love white lung!! This review was really strange though, as I thought that the reviewer was focused more on who made up the band than on their music. not really a show review, more of a lament on the reviewer's love of an ex-member.I have to say that I really disagree with the 'cohesive' comment...I had the opportunity to see them the last time they were in Portland with Pierced Arrows, and while they were good, the guitarist seemed really aloof and removed from the rest of the band. I saw them again at Work/Sound and were amazing with this new gent who is a great guitarist. I suspect that the 'something missing' for the reviewer came down to her own personal feelings more than the energy of the actual band. Much love to White Lung...was also very impressed by Nu Sensae who I hadn't seen before...go check them out next time they come here (which is not enough!).

Tobi Vail said...

I think White Lung are still a good band, but the guitar playing is what made the band exceptional. The dynamic of the show musically is what I was trying to describe. The group seemed determined to play a good show, but the musical dynamic was altered. The guitar sound and playing did not mix as well with the group. It did not seem like the group was as tuned into each other sonically as they sound on the first two singles or as they did when I saw them the first time. I am still supportive of the group but really want to hear what the guitarist will do next, because her playing was the reason I got into the band. Still, White Lung are a good band and Nu Sensae were good live too. The show atmosphere was male dominated, standard punk show I guess, but I had hoped there would be more of a balanced feeling in the room. I missed the first two groups so I can't comment on them. I was into the show though!

ANT said...

"the guitar playing is what made the band exceptional": doesn't this kind of disregard all the talent and creativity that the other members bring to the band? the old guitar player was also probably as good as she was when you saw/heard them because of the other members she was playing with and playing off of. Everyone's entitled to an opinion, but I don't think an entire band's 'exceptionl' sound should be attributed to a single player.

Tobi Vail said...

well, I could use subjective language, like "in my opinion" or "the guitar playing was my favorite part or the group by far and the reason I got into the band" but since this is a review, that is kind of assumed that we are talking about my subjective opinion...

if black flag replaced greg ginn or the ramones had fired johnny johnny or if mira had continued on in quix*o*tic without christina I would say the same thing.

Natasha Reich is a guitarist of that caliber and her work in the group was central to their sound and appeal. I think it's really really cool that they are determined to keep the band together without her. it shows a lot of determination and focus.

I saw the Clash without Mick Jones in 1984 and it was still great, but it was still missing Mick Jones on guitar!

Glad to see this band has fans! I look forward to hearing their new records and going to see them play again soon.



mike said...

yikes, talk about killing with faint praise...i love this band, and personally think they sound much tighter now..and an FYI to everyone who hasn't heard of them: the 3 other ladies in this band fucking slay!! Especially the drummer ;)

Tobi Vail said...

does anyone know what the old guitar player is doing now? has she been in any other bands? I seriously stay up late at night wondering these things. I'm a superfan...

also, when will White Lung play Olympia next?

maggie said...

hmm, all those comments are made by people who started their blogger accounts in march 2010?

Tobi Vail said...

Oh I just thought of another good example. Remember when Sara Jaffe quit Erase Errata? As a fan I was bummed and saw them a few times after that and wasn't as into it. Then when Jenny Hoyston started playing guitar I wasn't sure what to expect, but they turned out to make one of my favorite records of all time!

Anyhow, if people don't want to read criticism or critical opinions, then they shouldn't read my fanzine. I try to adhere to the Jean Luc Godard principle of "laudatory criticism" and only write posi-stuff about people I know (for the most part)and just skip writing about friends' bands I don't like, but if I seriously consider a band, then I'm going to be critical because that involves "thinking" and analysis as well as emotion. As far as I'm concerned if people don't want to read that kind of thing then they shouldn't read their own reviews.

Anyhow, it's hard to know what is appropriate when you are part of a "community"of artists/musicians but really I don't care. If you want criticism or if you are looking for support--I think I can offer both or neither, depending on your sensitivity and my own willingness (or lack) to voice my many opinions here.

Personally I don't want to be a part of a music scene without criticism, but I realize people are sensitive...there are times when I don't want criticism, but really if I'm feeling like that then I retreat and don't collaborate or play shows or put my work out there.

devan said...

tobi, natasha is the vocalist/guitarist for animal bodies

stephen said...

this blog was linked, that's why it says that the people leaving comments started their accounts so recently. you can't leave a comment unless you sign up. mine will say i signed up in june 2010. anyway, I also disagree with this review. just saw them in Brooklyn last night and bought the most recent "Atlanta" 7 inch and it's my personal favorite of all 3 that they have released, and they blew me away live. i agree that to attribute white lungs success to one member is a little ridiculous. the bass player and drummer in white lung are just as talented and essential as the old guitarist. the guy playing with them now also brings a better/more frantic energy to the band that i really like. i personally don't care for the other band that old guitar player is in. the guitar still sounds good, but it just sounds like industrial goth to me. meh.

Darrien said...

I have to agree with Tobi...the guitar was definitely what initially attracted me to White Lung. I find Natasha's guitar parts much more inspired than those of the new guitar player...