White Denim @ The Liquid Room, Edinburgh, 4 Jun

With a lot to pack in, White Denim take to the stage ahead of schedule and still sadly struggle to fit everything in against a tight curfew

Live Review by Max Sefton | 12 Jun 2019
  • White Denim @ The Deaf Institute, 15 Feb

With nine albums in a little over a decade, some serious instrumental chops and a hardworking attitude to life on the road, Texan rockers White Denim feel like a band out of time, as if they’ve fallen through a wormhole from some mid-70s Tom Petty tour.

Taking to the stage ahead of schedule – all the better to cram more songs in – singer and guitarist James Petralli clutches his mic tightly as he ricochets thorough the supremely melodic opener Backseat Driver.

With his big hollow body guitar and stretched syllables Petralli is every inch a visitor from the west of the Atlantic, but White Denim owe a serious debt to the British bands who smashed together rock, blues and psychedelia in the late 60s. Cream and Deep Purple both get a look in but with their whirling dervish drums and tight song structures, it’s The Who that the Texans most often bring to mind.

Petralli has a solid voice for a rhythm and blues singer but the real headrush is in the instrumentals, and at times it can feel like his lyrics are placeholders filling time until the next wig-out. Still though his band know how to beat up a storm, flitting swiftly between funk, blues and rock with little in the way of a break between songs.

After a brief midset lull, the energy picks up again with the brilliant It Might Get Dark and a first performance for an organ-propelled new track Small Talk. As the clock ticks toward 10pm Petralli warns: "We’re up against a curfew, we’re just going to play our fast shit. If you like our slow shit, maybe next time."

With an engaged audience seemingly happy to live in the moment, he finds few objections. Let’s hope next time comes around as soon as possible.