White Denim are Texan rock veterans and they rocked in at O2 Academy on their UK tour, our man Getintothis’ Kevin Barrett was on hand to see how it went down.
As good as 2018 was for new and breakthrough music, it was equally as satisfying to see a re-emergence of a few artists enjoying well deserved and rewarding purple patch in their careers.
And no-two acts rode that notion as well as White Denim and BC Camplight. With a collective album haul of ten between them before the turn of last year it would be fair to say neither envisaged the escalated success they would be greeted with before the release of Performance and Deportation Blues respectively.
BC Camplight (Brian Christinzio) takes to the stage here with some unfinished business of playing Liverpool, his last gig in the city supporting Phosphorescent was cut short to just four songs following a mix up of stage times at Hangar 34, and he certainly looks like a man with a purpose to more than make up for it tonight.
The America born, now Manchester residing multi-instrumentalist began by making reference to the ‘great city of Liverpool’ where Deportation Blues was recorded in Whitewood Studios. A fitting way to get the audience onside.
A 45-minute delightful set ensued, full of soulful jazz, retro synths, resounding bass lines, piano solos, gorgeous vocal harmonies and a bit of deep rooted rock.
Watching Christinzio there’s a beautiful juxtaposition in his stage demeanour, from the comedic interaction with the audience between song, to the heartbreaking honesty in the lyrics he would have wrote during one of the most difficult periods of his life whilst facing deportation from his home country.
Highlights of the set came on the back of a tale of his deportation letter he received from the then Home Secretary Theresa May, and his responding ‘love letter’ in the form of Fire in England, before finishing his performance with the electro synth heavy crowd pleaser I’m Desperate.
As the mobile piano is swiftly removed from the stage it’s time for the Austin, Texas headliners to take to their place. Set to release album number nine next month with Side Effects, following last year’s hugely acclaimed Performance, White Demin could well be one of the busiest and most consistent bands on the scene right now.
Surprisingly playing to around a 3/4 full venue tonight, their delivery from the onset is pitch perfect, clearly a band on the very top of their game. The musicianship is flawless throughout.
It’s all about the sound with White Denim, they can be forgiven for the very little crowd interaction as they wonderfully segue from one song to the next, seamless transitions without dropping a note is definitely the agenda for tonight.
A mixture of tracks from across the plethora of albums is on offer, with highlights coming from; Ha Ha Ha Ha (Yeah), and Had 2 Know (Personal) from 2016’s Stiff, adding Double Death from last years Performance.
With a bluesy range to Petralli’s voice, jazz elements turn to rock, scintillating licks and enticing hooks fill the room as a more psych feel drops into the new tracks.
Have white denim just smashed out abaaar 87 songs right in front of me? pic.twitter.com/eLPfXWCdSR
— Ross Lowey (@RossLowey5) February 20, 2019
An intriguing synchronised connection between front man James Petralli and bassist Steven Terebecki is mesmerising to watch as they bounce off each others sound all night, glancing nods of appreciation as the two work with perfect balance .
The only possible criticism that could be levied at the set is the shear enormity in the volume of songs the band deliver in this non-stop two-hour set, but with consistency in the material White Denim have released, who are we to tell them what to filter out, even though some of floor numbers did deplete as the set drew on the band were intent on maintaining the quality to the remaining punters who lapped up this tremendous performance.
Images by Getintothis Kevin Barrett