Headstones at the Marquee Club: A Review

Posted: 07/31/2017 in Uncategorized


Well, so called ‘punk’ artists take note, the Headstones were in town and re-established the standard for both rock and punk milieus. At a blistering hour and a half Hugh Dillon, Trent Carr, Tim White, Steve Carr and Rickferd Van Dyk brought the fury, power and passion that established them. Dillon is a bonafide rock star front man. He effortlessly brings the crowd to its feet with a pounding, refreshing version of Kenny Rogers’ “The Gambler” that had even the staunchest punk fan singing gleefully along with “know when to fold them” because face it…everybody knows this song. The stage could not contain him and fans got a rush as he literally walked out among them, starting by walking on bar tables while singing, not skipping a beat. At a later point, he tested his roadie/sound guy’s skill and resolve by dragging the mic to its full length as he walked among the crowd.

Make no mistake at 7 albums and nearly thirty years (there was a hiatus 2003-2011 where Dillon chose acting almost exclusively) the band shows no signs of slowing down. So much got jammed into their set. Dillon played the harmonica with zest and vigor that would have easily been at home in any blues club. The boys from Kingston delivered an astoundingly tight, nearly twenty song set that was breathlessly as energetic as it was seamless. This is not a nostalgia tour journey as so many bands from their era have chosen to take. They are still in their prime. Dillon bolts off the stage while Trent Carr kept a taut edge driven guitar, backed by bassist Tim White’s thumping rhythm. The crowd lights up as Dillon flies into the Tragically Hip’s “New Orleans is Sinking” so smoothly it is almost as if it was the Headstones’ own creation. The roof on the Marquee Club might have withstood the sonic assault that was the Headstones but it was certainly tested.

A riveting version of “Cubically Contained” again jolted the crowd, but the old material was given due presence via “Broken” and “For Your Consideration”. Their well-known “Eff You” became a sing along with tongue in cheek TO ribbing. The Headstones were here to play…and be playful. Dillon bantered with the crowd, speaking of previous adventures and concerts given here fondly. While the band is not quite so fury, shock value- driven as in their heyday, they have assuredly grown much more accessible. The Headstones’ playing to the crowd up to and including asking the audience for set list requests, as well as Dillon’s routine trips into the mass of fans, elevated the concert while maintaining an energy not seen with bands half their age.

“Binthiswayforyears” kicked the show in high gear, again featuring some fine harmonica playing to up the musical game. “Devil’s On Fire” from their latest, “Little Army” maintained the dynamo pacing. “Unsound” was superior bringing up whoever might have still been sitting. “Tweeter and the Monkey Man”, a Traveling Wilbury’s mega hit played earlier, added to the mix of superior old and new. People actually left before the encore which I will never fully understand. When is the next time you will be seeing a band this good in Halifax, particularly in such a cool, smaller level venue? Even Dillon himself mocked those who departed cheerfully wondering why anyone would leave before they were done. A smouldering rendition of “Smile and Wave” was capped off perfectly with “Cemetary” and the promise that the band will return “sooner than you think” will hopefully prove true. Headstones remain simply outstanding and well worth your time. They must be seen live.

*Opening act “Old Blood” was also quite good, delivering an alt rock performance that got the crowd primed for the awesomeness to come. O.B. played tight, energetic numbers and may prove a band to watch in the long run. Overall, a terrific night.



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