Over the past four years, The Headstones have graced our city with a night of debaucherous rock ‘n’ roll as a warm up to the Christmas season. “Our fans like to get drunk and rowdy” quips Hugh Dillon about their die-hard Ottawa following.
The energy in the room during these nights is palpable. Every single person shows up for the same reason. No one is there on a first date. No one said, “Hey, let’s see who’s at Barrymore’s tonight.” No one comes merely to see the opening act (who were great, but more on that later). The 500 bodies packed into Barrymore’s on Friday night were motivated by one common purpose: To relive some of the most authentic rock ‘n’ roll to come out of the 90’s.
The opening act, In Heat, played to an already packed house. Their brand of rock ‘n’ roll fits in remarkably well with The Headstones, as they clearly don’t give a fuck about what anyone else thinks. They have a sound, they have an image, and they’re running with it. And they’re running fast, which is impressive; given that their singer wears four-inch, leopard print heels.
Seeing the Headstones at the iconic Barrymore’s Music Hall, both unchanged in the past two decades, is like a match made in heaven. Something about that particular band, in that particular room, just says,”it’s bin this way for years and we’re never changing, so like it or get the fuck out”.
The Headstones took to the stage shortly before eleven o’clock; coming out strong with “Bin This Way For Years”. Hugh Dillon, in signature fashion, spent half the show throwing his mic and stand everywhere on the stage except for in front of himself and often grabbed Trent (Carr)’s or Tim (White)’s mic to sing from while occasionally offering the crowd a salute as they picked up the lyrical duties.
Their third song, “When Something Stands for Nothing” (whose chorus lyrics are permanently inked onto my forearms), drove the crowd into a frenzy. Dillon nailed the harp in that one, which later that night ended up in the hands of a very fortuitous fan after it was thrown into the pit.
Throughout the night, a trained ear could catch little snippets of childhood friend Gord Downie’s lyrics emanating into the Headstones’ tunes: On a Rebel 101.7 radio interview earlier in the day, Dillon admitted the band would likely not be where they are today if not for the help of The Tragically Hip’s front man.
A few new songs, of which Dillon expressed gratitude toward the crowd for ‘allowing’ him to play, made their way into the set. If this is the sound of their next record, it is beyond exciting. It’s incredible that the Headstones have managed to maintain the honesty and signature sound that their music is known for while continuing to remain accessible and current.
Next year, don’t wait too long to buy your tickets. The Headstones have sold out five shows in the past four years, and that’s a trend that shows no signs of stopping.
If you want to see what other wicked shows are coming up at Barrymore’s this fall and winter check them out online at www.barrymores.on.ca, to see where you can catch Hugh and The Headstones down the road visit headstonesband.com