Sunday, 24 June 2012

White Denim @ HMV Forum, London 22/05/12

White Denim are relentless. Live, they exhibit all the restraint of an untrained Rottweiler that's caught the scent of raw meat in its nostrils. There's barely even a moment left vacant in tonight's set for the Texan four-piece to say a quick "hello"; instead they tear through their back-catalogue of disparate genres as if held to ransom.

Without any concept of boundaries and propelled by a sense of no-holds-barred adventurism, White Denim are a rare breed of modern rock band. D, their latest album, not only proved against all reason that prog, country and psychedelia could co-exist in harmony, but that they could live together in a veritable, albeit dysfunctional, state of marital bliss.

Playing live, the shackles of being constrained on record come loose and White Denim go all out. They take the opportunity greedily, resulting in songs that sometimes drag, lost in the midst of extended guitar jams and the venue's muddy PA system. 

Nevertheless, their ambitious approach also means moments of formidable greatness arise in amongst all the noodling. The segue between 'It's Him' and 'At The Farm' sees colossal riffs and time signature changes come at a thrilling speed, carried by the beat of a drummer who plays so fast you'd think it was an octopus possessed by the spirit of John Bonham up there on stage.

Only during the fragile 'Street Joy' is the band given the chance to catch its collective breath. The track, brokered by lead singer James Petralli's earthy howl and a perfect, Neil Young-esque guitar solo, is satisfyingly disarming sitting beside all the frenzied noise that has come before it.  

Photo: Sara Amroussi-Gilissen (stolen from TLOBF)

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