If ever there was a rock band who sucked you in, twisted you into a hypnotic trance and spat you out at the end then it has to be White Denim. Their music encompasses many genres from true progressive styles of early Blodwyn Pig and Wishbone Ash, to Motown to American jazz fusion bands like Hot Tuna. This band on tour are quite DIY and check their own instruments and tuning pre gig and happily take demo cds from the crowd.
In younger days a White Denim gig was a wall of sound an attack on mind body and soul, songs would seemingly last for hours and flow from one into another. They still have that energy but the introduction of 4th member and guitarist Austin Jenkins has helped refine the sound and the songs are now not direction(less) wanderings. Songs still move beautifully without a break and it is not until Drug that James actually takes a pause for a few gulps of water
White Denim live (Simon Jay Price/Photographer: Simon Jay Price)
The twerp durt-wang of James Petralli guitarist starts the night slowly with Pretty Green and the crescendo rises and rises until the vibe is struck and we are locked in. By the time the latest single At Night In Dreams is played the band are so soaked in sweat you can feel the heat coming off them James eventually removes his glasses and the water runs freely down his face.
More subtle rhythms are introduced and Joshua Block on drums, in the past shirtless and vocal, is the pillar of discipline in keeping the pace going. The instruments seems to melt into one another the sound is so intertwined. The venue is a good place for them to show off their skills you can actually hear all of them including Steve Terebecki on bass. Is that old AC DC shirt ironed onto him?
The highlight of the night come about half way through the set with the great Street Joy. “I don’t mind the sound
Of your voice, of your voice. When you use it like your gun. So much fun, fire your gun”. Not for them trading guitar solos in the middle of the stage, every muscle is used making their craft it is so intense sometimes painful to watch as Petralli’s face contorts for one expression to another.
Their sound has developed so much that you would have to compare their development in sound to that of a big band Talking Heads, so whats next for White Denim…maybe a a nine piece live band. The cosmic psychedelic trip lasts over two hours and twenty seven songs later we leave… exhausted but fulfilled completely.
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White Denim at Shepherds Bush Empire Review and Photography by Simon Jay Price. 28th May 2014.