White Lung – 4Knots Music Festival – 6/29/13


Better Than: Coming in second in a screaming contest with Mish Way.

White Lung isn’t for the faint of heart or anyone with tender eardrums, and the mosh pits that opened up over the course of their 4Knots set were the physical incarnation of the kind of uncageable enthusiasm they inspire. Yeah, most of the bands at 4Knots were proudly loud and the reverb could be heard bouncing off the brick and beams of the Brooklyn Bridge and well across the water on the other side of the East River. But White Lung tapped into something that made the ebbing crowd at the South Street Seaport get as close as they could, and by the time “Take the Mirror” swelled and roared up through Mish’s throat and the amps and drum kit alongside her, the electricity in the air seeped its way into the limbs of every concert goer and compelled them to fight back–or, more appropriately, with–the song’s fast-as-a-hummingbird heartbeat.

Despite the fact that 4Knots is a family-friendly affair, White Lung didn’t tone down a lick of intensity for a sea of people who were either furrowing their brows behind their Wayfarers or ripping them off their heads before charging into the mosh pit. Some could confuse that kind of intensity with the negative, frightening associations that the uninitiated might attach to punk and hardcore–mosh pits are violent! People are punching! This all sounds so angry!–but what White Lung brought to 4Knots was a cathartic release fueled by feedback and a tidal wave of kinetic energy the whirlpool of fans before them was eager to throw back their way.
Critical Bias:
I’ve read Mish’s work before and found this essay that was recently published admirable, unflinching and courageous.

Overheard: Variations on “WAAAAAAAAAUUUUGH!!!!” and “YEEEEAAAAAAAAUGHHH!” and not much else, honestly, and that’s a great thing as those primal, gutteral screams provided the perfect background buzz for White Lung’s assault. You don’t need words in a mosh pit, you need volume and stamina, and the cries leaping up out of the crowd were elated, hard to articulate though they may be.

Random Notebook Dump: “BASS TO FACE” is the one line I’ve got from the notes I took while White Lung plowed through their arsenal, and the frenetic bass lines were so strong I felt like they were conducting my heartbeat and the blood pulsing through my veins. Grady Mackintosh was an absolute beast on the bass, and her consistency found a perfect foil in Anne-Marie Vassiliou’s Animal-esque skills at the kit. Mish’s pipes and Kenneth’s guitar licks are something to write home about, but White Lung’s rhythm section pounded harder than the hooves of the horsemen of the impending apocalypse–and something tells me that’s exactly how they like it.

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