White Lung both endeared and disturbed the crowd with their dark performance. Photo: Alexander Ortega
How did the environment/atmosphere impact the performance?
It was the end of the night and was cooling down, so the Holy Mountain's dark ambience and the red lighting made the show feel like it was the pinnacle of the evening. When White Lung played their first song with their sharp melodies and Mish Way's nonchalant stage presence, the darkness and slight dinginess of the club complemented White Lung's macabre sound well as a group of photographers at the front snapped and flashed their machines like the band members were stars on some sort of award show in a noir movie.
If this band were an animal, what and why?
White Lung would be a cat. Cats are burglaresque, and so are White Lung: Way slunk around the stage, almost pouty, but with a full sense of knowing that the stage was her playground. At one point, she sarcastically said, "We're from Canada, ooooooooh," as if people couldn't fathom a Canadian band playing SXSW. She ran her hands through her long, blonde hair and would, at times, go to the floor to sing as if she were injured in some existential way.
What was the best song they played?
It's a tossup between "Glue" and "Take the Mirror." Even though "Glue" is of my favorite White Lung songs, when they played it, the crowd got extra mosh-y and pushy. They got me singing along, just like I thought they would, and I started pogo-ing like back in my high school days. "Take the Mirror" was positioned at the end of their set, which is perfect because it's staccato ending stitches up the sonic wound that that song's mean, sharp guitar lines cuts inside of you.
If this band came to SLC, where would you want to see them play?
I would see White Lung at The Garage on Beck. Even though they're a punk rock band, there's still a sense of class to them, and I think it would be great to see them at a bar, too: Thus, The Garage would be the perfect balance of upper-echelon venue/bar chemistry. Seeing them on The Garage's outside stage with a good lighting setup before the industrial structures in the background would make for a dynamic show! (You can see them at The Shred Shed on March 20.)
What was the most embarrassing moment of the show (for you, the band, or another audience member)?
I rocked hard to White Lung, all while snapping photos. They incited me to jump around like a goth girl at a Trent Reznor slumber party. I went to Kenny William, the guitarist, afterward to ask about what pedals he uses (one of them's a delay, another one he referred to as a $40-dollar piece of shit, but his guitar sounded amazing), and started making my way back to the Austin SLUG HQ, glad that I had gotten our camera back with me … except my SXSW badge, which contained my Utah State drivers license was not around my neck anymore.
I hightailed it back to the Holy Mountain and scrambled around, asking at the bar—no dice. I went back to the stage one last time … and Kenny had my badge—ID included—and gave it to one of the SXSW workers, pointing me out of the dwindling crowd. I thanked the SXSW worker profusely, and then Kenny. It was after last call, so I couldn't buy him a drink, so I gave him a download card for my band Filth Lords' album instead.