Hugh Dillon and the Headstones are mostly playing arenas and larger venues on their current tour. But, for their recent shows in Winnipeg, they opted for the more intimate setting of the Pyramid Cabaret.
The band has played Winnipeg many times over the years and Dillon reminisced about scoring in town when they played the Osborne Village Zoo.
The band, established in Kingston, Ontario in 1987, recorded their first album in 1993 and parted ways in 2003. They reformed in 2011 and decided to do a tour this year.
The four piece band consists of all original members except for the new kid on the block, drummer Dale Harrison who replaced original drummer Mark Gibson in 1995. Harrison, a Winnipeg native, guitarist Trent Carr and bassist Tim White played a solid adrenalized set behind singer Hugh Dillon over the two nights.
Ripping into the set with ‘Losing Control’ it may have appeared that Dillon was in that state, but I think he was fully in control. His presence on stage demanded wide respect and appreciation from the audience. The Head Stone seemed to reciprocate, appreciating an audience that knew all the words to so many of the songs to which they loudly sang along. Dillon even offered up some advice with the song ‘Don’t Follow the Leader.’
After playing ‘When Something Stands For Nothing’ with it’s catchy “woo…hoo hoo hoo” refrain, they played a cover of The Traveling Wilbury’s ‘Tweeter and the Monkey Man’ which really got the audience pumped. By the time they played ‘Three Angels’ the audience was in overdrive.
About halfway through the 80-minute set, during the song ‘Oh My God,’ the very energetic Mr. Dillon walked into the crowd and jumped on the bar at the side of the stage and sang to the skull chandelier hanging above. He then proceeded to walk through the mass of people while the band jammed along to fellow Kingston band Tragically Hip’s ‘New Orleans is Sinking,’ while a few of the bouncers from the club held the microphone cord high above the peoples’ heads.
He shouted to the fans to “get your cameras out” as he stopped along the way to pose for peoples’ selfies. ‘Low Rider’ was then played as he made his way back to the stage. When he got back on stage, he dedicated the song ‘F#ck You’ to Toronto. He said, if he ever came into a lot of money, he would take a bus load of us to Toronto to show them how to rock on a Saturday night.
There was a real punk vibe in the room as the band played the very catchy ‘Smile and Wave’ with Barry McGuire’s ‘Eve of Destruction’ thrown in for good measure.
For the encore, they played the ABBA song ‘SOS’ which probably would have terrified the Swedish pop stars. They ended the evening with the first song that Hugh Dillon wrote for the band about necrophilia, ‘Cemetery.’ At the end of the show he promised to come back, saying, “Next time it won’t be a decade, we’ll be back in the summer.”
The show was so enjoyable that I just had to go back the next night. When I arrived, I noticed a mandolin on stage; unfortunately it didn’t get played.
They switched up the songs a bit playing three different tunes each night and rearranging the set list. As well, after his walk through the bar, the band played ‘Sympathy for the Devil’ when he got back on stage the second night.
That aforementioned punk rock attitude exhibited by the band was acutely manifested by Dillon who seemed pretty angry. Still, as I was standing outside talking to some of the other concert-goers, Dillon came outside and hailed a cab. Before he got into the cab, he signed autographs, posed for photos and talked with folks. Then he got in the cab, smiled and waved, and drove off. Indeed, an aggressive performer, but a nice guy.
Nov. 4, 2014 Nov. 5, 2014
1. Losing Control 1. Losing Control
2. When Something Stands for Nothing 2. When Something Stands for Nothing
3. Cut Me Up 3. Don’t Follow the Leader (new one)
4. Tweeter and the Monkey Man 4. Tweeter and the Monkey Man
(Traveling Wilburys cover) (Traveling Wilburys cover)
5. Don’t Follow the Leader (new one) 5. Heart of Darkness
6. Settle 6. Pinned You Down
7. Long Way to Neverland 7. Three Angels
8. Pinned You Down 8. Cubically Contained
9. Three Angels 9. Long Way to Neverland
10. Cubically Contained 10. Oh My God!
11. Oh My God! 11. New Orleans is Sinking/ Low Rider
12. New Orleans is Sinking/ Low Rider 12. Sympathy For the Devil (Rolling Stones)
13. F#ck You 13. F#ck You
14. Cut 14. It’s All Over
15. Unsound 15. Smile and Wave/ Eve of Destruction
16. Smile and Wave/ Eve of Destruction 16. Unsound
17. Bin This Way For Years 17. Bin This Way For Years
18. SOS (ABBA cover) 18. SOS (ABBA cover)
19. Til The End 19. Til The End
20. Cemetery 20. Cemetery
All photos by Doug Kretchmer