White Denim

Seems Texas’ finest new trio are still a long way from flopping into their post-Glasto beds. Audio, Brighton (June 30)

White Denim Pic: James Quinton
Maybe it was a Boots cargo bay-worth of wet wipes, a Mongolian facial massage in the Green Fields or Jay-Z’s baptism, but quite how White Denim arrive on the south coast to kick off their UK tour looking – of all things – fresh straight from Glastonbury is anyone’s guess. There are no signs of bleary eyes, dehydration or crusty hangovers here, as the three Texans jogging excitedly onstage to open with ‘Migration Wind’ prove. They begin quietly, but it doesn’t take long for the fiery wheels of their garage-rock wagon to roll with ‘All You Really Have To Do’: cue Robert Plant-style howling and squelching guitar blasts, attacked from all angles by thunderous, maniacal drummer Joshua Block.

By the time ‘Don’t Look That Way At It’ hits, things have descended into a ricocheting canyon of cowbells, panting and knuckle-fraying guitar riffs, stopping and starting like an unhinged bumper-car. Debut single and storming summit ‘Let’s Talk About It’ pouts like The Stooges applying lip gloss to The Hives, and any lingering suspicions the threesome are simply Detroit garage-rock revivalists coat-tailing a trend that died years ago are soon scorched (although Jason Petralli’s yelps do – we imagine – sound much like those Jason Stollsteimer of The Von Bondies emitted when Jack White clobbered him). Indeed, where there are pearly pop songs there’s also a fair amount of gristle; mid-set fuzz-anthem ‘Paint Silver Gold’ is a completely undanceable, impossible-to-keep-up-with muddle of caustic chaos that’s totally captivating.

It’s no wonder that by closer ‘Darksided Computer Mouth’ everyone – band, crowd and even the soundman – looks exhausted. They trudge offstage only to be hauled back for an encore, for which they play ‘Mess Your Hair Up’ again, because they’ve still only got a half-hour album under their belts. On an evening where most of the country is flopping back on their sofa after the longest weekend of the summer, the only thing dirtier than the sweaty herds leaving Pilton tonight are White Denim’s riffs. And on this evidence, they’re only getting dirtier.

Jessica Hazel

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