130930-white-denim– GORILLA, MANCHESTER –

It’s actually impossible to categorise White Denim, which is what makes them such an uncompromisingly brilliant live band. I saw a tweet from someone who had been to their London gig which said ‘White Denim are without doubt the finest rock-soul-jazz-punk-AOR-funk-garage-prog band I’ve ever seen.’ This is about as accurate a description as you can get of the four piece from Austin, Texas (I LOVE writing that), and tonight’s gig at the stellar Gorilla only goes to confirm that these guys just won’t be pigeon-holed.

The venue is absolutely packed, mainly, it has to be said, with men who spend the time before the band come on excitedly wondering how tonight’s show will go down. One man behind me asks his mate just how ‘they make that asymmetrical sound’, and after two days thinking about it I still have no idea what he meant. But the anticipation in the room is palpable, and the cheers as the band take the stage are some of the loudest I’ve heard inside Gorilla’s tin roof. Opening with a stunning ‘Anvil Everything’ from their 2011 album D, they set the tone for a wonderful 90 minutes of ceaselessly inventive and thrilling music. The song must change time signature about 18 times in it’s 4 minute duration, restlessly moving on and on to it’s racing conclusion. From here on in, they move around genres from song to song like normal bands do maybe once  on one album in their lifespan, and it’s all brilliant.

Here to promote their great new album Corsicana Lemonade, they throw in plenty of new cuts around their older material. ‘Pretty Green’ stands out in particular, as it’s one of the most straight forward bluesy garage rock numbers they’ve ever done, and it provides a bit of respite from the obscure time signatures and math-rock solos that punctuate most of their other songs (not at all a bad thing). After one song (it’s hard to keep tabs on everything they play!) singer James Petralli apologises to the crowd for ‘that slow song…I hope you weren’t bored’…far from it James, far from it. It’s the material from their masterpiece (in my eyes, at least) Fits that absolutely electrifies the gig, with a ridiculously fun ‘I Started To Run’ and the riffs that positively tumble out of ‘Mirrored and Reverse’ being highlights of the main set.

After a very short sojourn off stage, the band are whooped and cheered back on to tear through what is definitely one of my live highlights of 2013, a beefed up, mesmerising ‘Radio Milk How Can You Stand It’, again from Fits, that is just absolutely thrilling. I leave with the broadest grin on my face, exhausted and exhilarated. White Denim are definitely the finest rock-soul-jazz-punk-AOR-funk-garage-prog band I’ve ever seen.

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