One of the Best Live Bands in Canada – Headstones
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One of the Best Live Bands in Canada

Feb 05, 2016


The Headstones played the Commodore on Nov. 27th and showed why they are one of the best live bands in Canada. Openers “City on Fire” played their speed metal set to an eager crowd, working the young people into a frenzy. It was a thundering, boisterous setting of the table for the big show, acknowledging that everyone was there to see the Headstones, including them. Hugh Dillon and company did not disappoint.

The Kingston quartet has been a genre-crossing group for most of their career, but left no doubt on Friday night as to how they see themselves. They are an old fashioned punk-style band – at least that’s how they are in concert. Hugh Dillon performed like a madman pissed off at the world – particularly his mic stand or at least the tech responsible for it. He spent the night knocking it over, heaving it from the crowd and generally abusing it.

The lead singer spent so much time in the audience that they could have charged him for a ticket. I’m not just talking about being in the front of the crowd, he was everywhere – at one point he was so far in that he could have ordered and received a drink from one of the side bars. He snarled and glared and spit at ecstatic fans like a modern day Johnny Rotten – only with much more talent.

They kept the mosh pit hopping with a mix of hits, new songs and sped up covers of the Tragically Hip, George Thorogood and even Barry McGuire’s “Eve of Destruction” from 1965. Suffice to say I like the punk version better. Even their own slower songs like “Cubically Contained” and “3 Angels” were faster and harder than normal. “Tweeter and the Monkey Man”, “Smile and Wave” and “Cemetery” all got the crowd singing along at top volume, but none compared to the energy of the classic “F#ck You!”

The Commodore’s floor was bouncing and the sound was excellent, as usual. The band was tight, skilled and full of energy, but all seem to be content in Hugh Dillon’s shadow. Good thing, because he doesn’t offer another option. The man has amazing stage presence and excellent command of the crowd. He practically dares you to look away, but you can’t. As a performer, he’s unmatched and I think that’s a good thing – more than one Hugh Dillon might be dangerous…They may be older, but their hearts still beats with their punk rock roots and I, for one, love that beat.

written by Chris van Staalduinen