Wednesday 31st July 2019
You can imagine that some bands sit around and actively plan their next move in terms of how to become more successful. While there is nothing wrong with ambition, I prefer the road taken by White Denim. Do whatever the hell you want and hope that people come along for the ride…
White Denim stroll on stage at the Sheffield Leadmill as if they have been crashing there for the last week. Not a hint of rock star ego or cool guy posturing.
New album Side Effects has been well received by critics and fans alike and tracks such as Hallelujah Strike Gold and Shanalala sound almost overwhelming in Sheffield’s most iconic venue. The sheer scale of the bands musical dexterity is dizzying with James Petralli a force of nature on guitar and vocals.
The rest of White Denim is made up of Greg Clifford (drums), Steven Terebecki (bass) and Michael Hunter (Keyboard). All of whom play as if their lives depend on it with four or five tracks blending into one long jamming session.
The more straightforward rock ‘n’ roll numbers such as Had 2 Know and Performance anchor the set but White Denim are just as compelling when they get weird. Petralli gurns and grins maniacally throughout the show, seemingly hypnotised by his instrument (stop laughing at the back).
Magazin is undoubtedly a highlight but then again it is difficult to pick out individual songs as the band are so tight, so frantic, it almost hurts my eyes to watch them. To see a band so talented in such a relatively small venue is a rare privilege and even my bladder respects the occasion by not insisting on making me leave to go to the toilet every three songs as is usually the case.
The great thing about White Denim is they have clearly influenced and been influenced by so many bands (Led Zeppelin, Flaming Lips, Wolfmother, Black Keys etc etc) but yet they have forged a sound that is completely their own, and as a live act they are truly unique. There is no encore. There is barely any interaction with the audience. But that’s not why we are here. We’re here for the music. And in that regard, White Denim are untouchable. Transcendent, mesmerising, unforgettable.
The band go back to where it started to close the set with an epic rendition of Shake Shake Shake sending the crowd into raptures. There is something primal about the music of White Denim and when it is good, it’s really really good.
Despite not saying much throughout the show, the band are clearly grateful for the thunderous applause at the end of the night, and as the Sheffield crowd shuffle out into the balmy South Yorkshire night, they are safe in the knowledge that they have witnessed something special. Shake, shake, shake!