Lung and Howling Midnight shine in exceptionally diverse night of heavy rock duos

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Howling Midnight at Will's Pub - JEN CRAY
  • Jen Cray
  • Howling Midnight at Will's Pub
THIS LITTLE UNDERGROUND
Howling Midnight, Lung and When Particles Collide, Will’s Pub, Jan. 9

Heavy rock shows are often cases of institutional homogeneity. But the recent, duo-leaning bill anchored by Orlando blues-rock bulldozers Howling Midnight showed that it can be so much more than just bros with guitars.
Lung at Will's Pub - JEN CRAY
  • Jen Cray
  • Lung at Will's Pub
One of the night’s best, most interesting highlights, for example, were Cincinnati two-piece band Lung. First and most immediately distinguishing is that they’re a heavy rock duo that involves a cello instead of a guitar. With a frontwoman who’s a former opera singer and a drummer who was in Foxy Shazam, this band’s got “theatrical” written all over it. And they were, pounding out a dark, churning rock sound that was executed with fever and possession, especially from singer-cellist Kate Wakefield.
Lung at Will's Pub - JEN CRAY
  • Jen Cray
  • Lung at Will's Pub
Lung at Will's Pub - JEN CRAY
  • Jen Cray
  • Lung at Will's Pub
Rock purists need not worry. Because she attacks her electric cello like a hard-charging lead guitarist, you don’t really miss that old six-string in what Lung does. Their sound packs all the groan and octane that heavy rock demands, just with a little more dimension. Add in the intensity that happens when an opera singer fires her ammo through the cannon of rock music and you’ve got some cutting results.
Lung at Will's Pub - JEN CRAY
  • Jen Cray
  • Lung at Will's Pub
Lung at Will's Pub - JEN CRAY
  • Jen Cray
  • Lung at Will's Pub
To that end, they closed with Bowie’s “I’m Afraid of Americans,” a cover infinitely more apropos now than when the original came out in 1995.
When Particles Collide at Will's Pub - JEN CRAY
  • Jen Cray
  • When Particles Collide at Will's Pub
Maine’s When Particles Collide, another touring two-piece act, were less cogent. To call them eclectic would be understatement. Though they clearly have chops, their patchwork sound is varied in a way that’s so indiscriminate as to be indeterminate. The references are obvious and plenty, but with no magic of synthesis or originality. And the result is more pastiche than concept.
When Particles Collide at Will's Pub - JEN CRAY
  • Jen Cray
  • When Particles Collide at Will's Pub
As for the hometown boys, Howling Midnight were more locked in than ever. No matter how many times I see it, it’s always flooring to hear how they squeeze a Queens of the Stone Age sound out of a White Stripes setup.
Howling Midnight at Will's Pub - JEN CRAY
  • Jen Cray
  • Howling Midnight at Will's Pub
The duo debuted some new material that proves that there’s still no brake on this muscle car. It’s all turbo and burn, baby. Slathering another layer of dimension onto their already high-functioning sound was the addition of an old phone booth mic to their arsenal a la Bob Log III. It cumulated in a set that reasserted Howling Midnight as the most boss two-piece rock band in the area right now.
Howling Midnight at Will's Pub - JEN CRAY
  • Jen Cray
  • Howling Midnight at Will's Pub
Howling Midnight at Will's Pub - JEN CRAY
  • Jen Cray
  • Howling Midnight at Will's Pub
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Email Bao: baolehuu@orlandoweekly.com