Monday, January 25, 2010

[review] White Denim @ Neumos (1-24-2010)

Third Time's the Charm

Last night Seattle was treated to White Denim's third appearance. Unfortunately for the band, they happened to pick a rainy Sunday night for their latest exposion. Having attended their past two shows, I was expecting the usual tepid crowd one draws on such an evening, however, much to my surprise, numerous disciples of rock & roll made their pilgrimage to Neumos for a spiritual experience. And disappointed they were not... but we'll get to that later.

Last night's story begins with Brazos - an Austin, TX trio whose sweet-sounding set was truly charming. Starting off with a solo performance of "We Understand Each Other", lead singer Martin Crane's soft, southern croon was instantly captivating. Once the rest of the band joined in, the tempo picked up with a tribal drum-driven rendition of "The Observer". The rest of the set included Phosphorescent Blues' heavy-hitters. If you don't own their debut album, yet, I highly recommend you test drive this bad boy. I'm not really sure how to classify their genre, but listening to their debut LP evokes feelings of some long-lost, breezy summer afternoon - simply timeless. Brazos closed their set with an oldie - Feeding Frenzy's "Interlocking" - which was a fitting end to a wonderful opener. Set list below:

Brazos set list:
We Understand Each Other
The Observer
Day Glo
Downtown Boys

Up next came the main event: White Denim. Like I alluded to earlier, the crowd size nearly doubled before WD took the stage. If fans intended to hear the band's catalog performed exactly like it sounds on record, then they were in for a surprise. It's because White Denim understands that a concert isn't just about the music, but more importantly, it's about the performance. What you experience at their live shows is raw energy on stage, like controlled chaos. The band plays huge blocks of nonstop hits, masterfully tearing down the end of each song while seamlessly building a new jam from the destruction.

Kicking off the night with one of my personal favorites "Heart From Us All", WD proceeded to play three 30-minute jam sessions before calling it a night. I'm not sure if the band has invested in new equipment, but it was the best these guys have sounded live, in my opinion. Amongst the fury of Josh Blocks machine-gun drumming, the turbo-grooves of bassist Steve Terebecki, and the soul-powered screams of James Petralli, the crowd heard classics like "Darksided Computer Mouth", "Let's Talk About It", "Ieieie", "Shake Shake Shake", "Paint Silver Gold", and "Goldie Locks". To my surprise, it was the songs from the band's newest LP Fits that garnered the biggest reaction from the crowd. That's a huge difference than the last two times I've seen these guys. Newer jams included "All Consolation", "Syncn", "Mirrored And Reverse", "El Hard Attack", and "I Start To Run". As the night came to a close, the band thanked us all for coming out and promptly left the stage. However, after many chants and pleads for more songs, the band came back for an encore set (which they looked very surprised to have earned the privilege). The night concluded with "I'd Have It Just The Way We Were", followed by the loop-heavy "Don't Look At It That Way". But what finished the night off was simply amazing. Direct from the archives of White Denim pre-history, the band shut Neumos down with a killer performance of Parque Touch's "You". Hell of a show - hell of a night. Man these guys have talent.

Here's a video of WD's psychedelic interlude into "Shake Shake Shake", courtesy of Humberto Martinez at the Seattle PI.