White Denim, gig review

Village Underground, London

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The Independent Culture

“You see the other actors waiting/ To take their cake in the dark,” maintains James Petralli, with his honeyed vocals, on opener ”Anvil Everything“, from 2011'sD. Like the other 23 tracks tonight, it's complex and overcooked - but also unrepentantly bold.

There are very few bands around quite like Texans White Denim, a [proggy] rock quartet redolent of Seventies behemoths the Allman Brothers and Jethro Tull. The only thing they lack is the hair. It's not long enough. Other than that, the “math-rockers” (who appear to all shop at the same thrift store) wig-out and wig-out hard on the likes of “Cheer Up/Blues Ending”, “Limited by Stature” and the jazz-funk (there’s a whiff of Living Colour and, even , the Doors) “Come Back”, all tracks from Corsicana Lemonade, their latest, slightly more accessible opus.

Their Beastie Boys-like videos suggest frivolity but here they're undemonstrative, barely engaging with the audience, indulging simply in their psychedelic, labyrinthine  soundscapes. As Frankie Howard would have it, they please themselves. However, they receive an appreciative (the odd whoop, some bouncing) reception.

The highlights are the languid, golden-hued “Distant Relative Salute” and the freewheeling “I’d Have It Just the Way We Were”. They’re not for changing this lot but, among the noodlings, they sometimes create a fearsomely pretty racket.