NOVEMBER 24th 2018

Review by Metallic Barbie

There are not many bands that can form in 1987, break up in 2003, re-group in 2011 and two years later release an album nominated for Juno Rock Album of the Year, only to drop a further two albums, one of which housed a top 10 single rotation on the alternative radio playlist.  Oh, and they’re good ole Kingston, Ontario boys.

The Headstones pulled those rabbits out of their collective hats over the years, and rocked the Commodore on Saturday, November 24th, with a 25 year anniversary shout out to their 1993 debut album Picture of Health.

Blasting on stage after opener Matchstick Skeletons, frontman Hugh Dillon, guitarists Trent Carr and Rickferd Van Dyk, bassist Tim White, and drummer Lyle Molzan plowed through Picture of Health cover to cover.  As they’re fond of sharing, Dillon and the band are hugely influenced by The Tragically Hip, and they paid homage by mixing in their version of “New Orleans Is Sinking”, along with other covers, into the body of “Oh My God!”

As with any Headstones show, there was a massive amount of crowd participation, and use and abuse thereof by Dillon, as the show reached its crescendo.  Early on Dillon made his way to one of the bars and stomped along the rail while crushing a tune, later on diving into the crowd and straddling the stage barriers to attendee delight.

Not to be dismissed as solely an opportunity to throw more videos on YouTube Dillon’s 92 year old mother could search to watch him scream “Fuck”, the band called for people to put away their phones and actually enjoy being present at the show (a message I heard but failed to apply quick enough not to be called out by Dillon).  And in all fairness, there was no bloody reason to miss out on the chaos by sampling the set via a screen versus being fully engaged; and the Headstones adamantly refuse to provide a reason for their dismissal.

If Picture of Health was a little before your time, or not your No 1 album, after a short break the band came back to the stage to deliver favourites “Fuck You”, “Unsound”, newer track “Devils On Fire”, and classics “Long Way to Neverland” and “Smile and Wave”, among others.

Having popped my live Headstones cherry years back, I actually thought this was one of the best performances I’d seen by the band.  The playing was tight, the shit disturbance was on-point, and the crowd got their fill of mayhem.

Headstones will continue their anniversary tour into Eastern Canada, so do not miss out on a truly epic night of nostalgia and bedlam!