Live Review White Denim, Broadcast, Glasgow

There are moments when it appears that Deep Purple are alive and well and this particular musical TARDIS has pulled in at 1973.


Photo: Michael Gallacher
The audience are packed in close enough to bump fists with the fuzzy-haired guitarist / mandolin player from tonight’s support, Canterbury psych-rockers Syd Arthur – whose weird mix of easy listening, prog and fiddle makes for a slightly queasy combo.

Main players White Denim look at first like four nondescript dudes pulling mean guitar faces. The low ceiling in this room demands that only the most determined crowd members get to see anything, but the band don’t take long to win over the full room with some Hendrix-level flair and fiddly guitar. There are moments when it appears that Deep Purple are alive and well and this particular musical TARDIS has pulled in at 1973.

Indeed, this is a wormhole of jazzy rolls and glam rock boogie, laid-back soloing and long instrumental workouts abound. A somewhat muddy sound mix evens out by the time they hit ‘At Night In Dreams,’ one of several standouts from current LP ‘Corsicana Lemonade’. Sped-up Led Zep and seamless segues between songs combine with solos that might once have been considered eminently naff to become something admirable in this post-White Stripes world.

A patchwork of influences, from The Sweet to Steely Dan, ‘Street Joy’, causes a breakout of headshaking and shuffling dance moves, its accelerated ending a clean-cut wigout. It all feels carefully put together into a well-ordered pastiche.

The Southern slide of ‘Pretty Green’ sees them in Black Keys territory but they’re looser and lack the intensity of the Akron duo, even breaking out some rather loungey jazz bass. White Denim are determined to give value for money it seems; this is a long set with no traditional dynamics to help navigate.

The country ramble of the LP’s title track is four bars’ worth of redneck trailer park jam – so diverse as to paradoxically cohere into a recognisable White Denim identity.

‘Come Back’ touches down in 1969 San Francisco. Just when you think they’ve run out of surprises they drop something that sounds like late Jeff Buckley, all stripped-down staccato stomp. White Denim’s mixed up jukebox - so much going on that it feels like they’re picking us off one by one until everyone heard something different.

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