The Headstones as their front man Hugh Dillon (and yes that is the same Hugh Dillon of Hard Core Logo, Durham County and Ed Lane of Flashpoint fame) has said “they have been around the block a few times”, and like all great bands they have had their fair share of ups and downs, but in 2011 after having been split for 8 years and coming to the aid of a former band member they decided to dip their toe once again into the whirlpool that is producing music, they released a free download of a new song called Binthiswayforyears to see if fans remembered them but more then that to see if they still wanted their brand of music, to say it took off again is an understatement.
Fans consistently asked for more new material and the band released Love + Fury in 2013 through a fan funded campaign on PledgeMusic and this is where I come in. Having heard their early material I was instantly hooked, it was music I grew up with and could relate to, it reminded me of my all time favourite band The Clash.
Since then I have been lucky enough to have seen a few Headstones shows and I must say they are always high energy and totally off the charts, but I haven’t been this excited about a gig since the first time I saw The Clash play the Brixton Sound Academy in 1982 and the reason being I was getting to see the Headstones play The Commodore Ballroom in Vancouver one of if not the most iconic live music venue in Canada, all of the great bands have played there including The Clash on Jan 31st 1979.
West coast fans had had to wait four long years for the band to return and wait we did patiently in line like kids waiting for their vaccinations at school but the medicine being administered here was the best kind possible, old fashion no holds barred rock and roll played by talent musicians that you could tell from the very first cord played it came from the heart by four guys that not only did this for themselves but more over for the fans, they are actually invested in their music heart and soul.
Before long the band had seamlessly ripped through Binthiswayforyears, Mystery To Me and Losin Control but making this even more exceptional was the fact that the band were missing lead guitarist Trent Carr due to a medical condition and Rickferd Van Dyke had been asked to step up to the plate to replace him and step up he did never missing a beat and adding an energy and a presences all his own, you could have been mistaken into thinking that he had been with the band from the first day they loaded themselves and their equipment into a van and started the long Canadian touring road to success his playing was tight and flawless.
As the temperature in the ballroom rose to molten so did Dillon’s showmanship and intensity, there was mic throwing , drink chucking, the occasional spitting and the now regular Dillon trip into the crowd making his way to his new vantage point usually the top of the bar, oblivious to the fact that he nearly decapitated poor Tim White in the process with the mic lead. I’m sure the band were more excited to be there then the crowd and it emanated off them in waves, Dale Harrison kept everyone on point and drummed like his life depended on it, while White bounced around the stage like the Duracell bunny sweat pouring off him which he happily shared with the front row much to their delight all the time banging out unbelievable bass lines.
As fan favourites like Tweeter & The Monkey, Smile and Wave, Fuck You, Something Stands For Nothing, Three Angels, Oh My God, Cubically Contained, Let It Go with snippets of Eve of Destruction, New Orleans Is Sinking, Low Rider and Straight Out Of Compton thrown in for good measure and new contenders Longwaytoneverland and Farawayfromhere reverberated around being soaked up not only by the crowd but also by the fabric of the building, paying witness to the spectacular event that was taking place. Bringing this awesome set to an end was the band’s first hit Cemetery.
The encore gave fans a taste of the brand new single Fuck It and One By One which is being released for the first time on special limited edition vinyl, and of course no encore would be complete without the Headstones cover of Rancid’s Journey To The End and Dillon’s joy in trashing Harrison’s drum kit left the crowd screaming their approval.
As the fans dispersed content in the knowledge that they had been and survived one of the all time greatest live shows myself included, and as I wandered back to my hotel soaked in beer, smelling like a dope dealers dream and Fuck It repeating over and over in my head I couldn’t help but smile as once again after all these years I had the same feeling of euphoria I had experienced in 1982.