Review: White Denim at Music Hall of Williamsburg

I rarely go to shows with lineups that are completely unfamiliar to me, but I took a leap of faith and trusted my friends to bring me to a good show. The headliner was White Denim, a trio from Austin, Texas that’s known for its unique mesh of genres. What I was unprepared for was the rocking antics of three guys who are all excellent musicians, without a single weak link.

It was hard to tell where one song ended and another one began. In a stream of consciousness style of playing, White Denim seamlessly moved from one idea to another. They reminded me of Akron/Family, another band who fearlessly pushes the boundaries of what “rock” music should be. In the case of White Denim, everything was done with an unpretentious, artistic flair. I could have written a term paper on White Denim’s influences, and it still would been a humble portrait of the trio. Perhaps, it is to the band’s advantage that they look a little grunge.

As a first-time listener, I would classify the night’s performance as mostly psychedelic math-rock. For me, the complex time signatures were the centerpoint of the music, with the drummer leading the way. Guitarist and lead singer James Petralli had a certain affinity for the wah pedal, and Steve Terebecki was the most active bassist that I’d ever seen. I feel that it’s become increasingly rarer to experience live bands who can actually play their instruments very well. I respect that the members of White Denim are truly virtuosos on their instruments, something that a music lover should never take for granted.

In a time when it seems like anyone can make music with a laptop, it’s refreshing to know that there are people who are still making music with talent and dedication, which is unfortunately becoming the old-fashioned way. If you’ve grown tired of seeing overhyped, mediocre bands, White Denim is a must-see band that will restore your faith in music.

Nov 20 @ Cafe Eleven – St. Augustine, FL
Nov 22 @ One Eyed Jacks – New Orleans, LA

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– Mimi Kim


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