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Concert Review: Black Pistol Fire at Lee’s Palace (10/16/17)

Concert Review: Black Pistol Fire at Lee’s Palace (10/16/17)



Dear World, I have your new #MondayMotivation. If any of you reading ever need a kick in the pants to start your week off on the ROCK foot, go see Black Pistol Fire on a Sunday night.

If you’re not supercharged more than downing a few morning Red Bulls after seeing guitarist Kevin McKeown and shirtless drummer Eric Owen sweat out almost 90 minutes of blues-based ball-breakers, you may not have a pulse.

This two-piece band doesn’t just put on a show, they blow through five albums’ worth of material with the force of Hurricane Harvey and then some. That’s not to make light of the disaster that befell Texas, where Black Pistol Fire plys its trade out of. Singer McKeown may say “Tarrana” with a southernish drawl, but these BFFs were born and bred in the Big Smoke, moving to Austin years ago to pursue their music careers.

I had a chance to talk to the shaggy-haired Owen as he rode shotgun on the way to the band’s homecoming gig of sorts at Lee’s Palace. Newest release Deadbeat Graffiti isn’t all that radical a departure for Black Pistol Fire, although Owen emphasized that it does represent an evolution for him and McKeown beyond thrashing beats and riffs; “Last Ride” for one is downright funky! And while they haven’t seen Eric Clapton’s Life in 12 Bars documentary, Owen politely disagrees with comments Slowhand made at TIFF that “maybe the guitar…is over”. If it is, somebody forgot to tell Owen’s wild playing, axe-wielding partner.

In light of Las Vegas weighing heavily on music fans’ minds, Owen is obviously concerned about security as they travel across the US, including the Voodoo Festival in New Orleans. Ensuring concertgoers have a memorable time is most important to them, something every single person who left Lee’s Palace definitely did. While Owen pounded away McKeown would jump on his bass drum, balance precariously on a railing like he was a tightrope walker, and mosh along with the rapid crowd in the pit, ALL WITHOUT MISSING A SINGLE STRUM! I had trouble catching my breath just from watching – It’s no wonder why Owen’s attire pretty much only consists of a pair of gym shorts.

The percussionist whose reverberations I’m still feeling a good day later finished by telling me there will eventually be a day where he covers up his torso on stage, although he’s saving that for when Black Pistol Fire are honoured at the Kennedy Center in Washington. Won’t be with this Toby Keith-loving redneck joke of a president, but I can see it happening…we need more Canuck representation in that joint besides Hume Cronyn, eh?


Gilles LeBlanc literally fell into “alternative rock” wayyy back at Lollapalooza 1992, where he got caught in his first mosh pit watching some band named Pearl Jam. Since then, he’s spent the better part of his life looking for music to match the liberating rush he felt that day, with a particular chest-beating emphasis on stuff coming out of his native Canada. It took him awhile, but Gilles now writes feverishly about all things that rock (and or roll) through his ROCKthusiast alter ego.

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