McLusky w/ The Libertines
Oct. 16, 2004
La Tulipe, Montreal
By Carlo Lynch
Am I wrong or is it a bloody crying shame that McLusky was nothing more than an opener at La Tulipe? I thought it was at least a double bill as I browsed the merch table.
The Libertines had a t-shirt adorned with the head of an indie-kid, the unpointed teen-angst slogan, “Fuck ‘Em” emanating from his gob. This shirt, sold and pulled out of cardboard boxes faster than you can say “indie-fuck”, seemed limp and uninspired hanging next to McLusky’s “Shitrock” shirt. But the show was sold out in advance to a vast majority of Libertines fans–the scene-chasers having found their rally point for now until they migrate to cooler climes.
The Libertines appeared to flap-flapping hands and hearty greetings. They played some music and, outside of a few people up front head banging and giving the band le salute de rock, the energy seemed forced and lifeless; nothing but foot tapping and indie nose pokes from the gaggle of twenty-something scenesters.
The singer had “Rude Boy” splayed on a black tank-top worn under an oily leather-jacket. He used the back of his hand to fling the greasy hair out of his eyes as he drawled like…who was that cool band with the hair? Oh yeah, the Strokes. But the Libertines only borrow the Strokes’ façade. Underneath they’re a gutless summer punk band who make sexy looks at the crowd. The bassist stood stiff on stage right, his head tilted upwards, swathing his face in stagelight to accentuate his defined cheek-bones. He dared not make a move, lest he ruffle the hairdo meticulously perched on top of his noggin. He sang the high parts the lead singer was too rough and tough to sing, and made longing eye contact with women in the crowd. I tell you, dear reader, indie rock has gone softer than a velvet blazer.
McLusky couldn’t stir any life out of the art-farts packed into La Tulipe. We 25 McLusky fans had the floor to ourselves. There was more energy expended by we good people during the forty-five minute set than was mustered by the whole building for the Libertines–and even more energy than that the indie kids put into their thirty minute hairdos.
McLusky is the sort of band that’ll put meat on your balls – long enough so that you can do that hilarious hamburger trick. They opened with “Lightsabre Cocksucking Blues,” the first track on their breakthrough 2002 album, McLusky Do Dallas. Andy Falkous’s guitar crunched and rang. During “To Hell With Good Intentions” he spat “My love is bigger than your love – Sing it!” a lyric that has brains, brawn, crotch and sneer all rolled up in less than ten words and a dramatic pause.
They are a band that knows only one guitar effect: DISTORTION. Drummer Jack Egglestone played so raw that it looked like he was tenderizing meat. Bassist Jon Chapple took up the vocals for “What We’ve Learned,” quipping and roaring as well as Faulkous who ended up down on his knees playing guitar after tearing his strap. Each song built to a chord-snapping, follicle-splitting madness. The indie kids just stared, jabbered away and even heckled; their derision was met by Faulkous’s easy, irreverent humor. The most appropriate song of the night was “Collagen Rock”, which rang like a self-deprecating commentary on the sorry situation: “The little kid pissed on the big kid’s porch/ He thinks it’s amazing – he’s rubbish of course/ But one of those bands got paid I heard.” He added, even more poignantly, “One of them’s got the stare,” and that “their hair was a fucking delight!”
The show concluded with a grand fuck-off. Instead of meekly abandoning the stage, McLusky left their guitars screaming feedback as they packed up their equipment while Egglestone continued to drum. Faulkous and Chapple picked away at the drum-kit as he stretched to give each departing piece a last hit. Egglestone was gradually stripped down to his snare. Faulkous took it from him and Chapple tried to carry the drummer off the stage. As they struggled off, Faulkous jumped on them, and McLusky waddled off the stage in a giant group hug, giving each other mock condolences. And it’s too bad. Once heady, slobbering McLusky reviews start hitting popular ‘zines, the same lot will be back as boosters.
Note: Sadly, not long after this show the awesome Welsh band McLusky (a NadaMucho.com staff favorite) broke up.