By Gabrielle Marshall
Jam sessions are severely under appreciated. When given the opportunity to sit around with musically adept friends, and nerd out on syncopated rhythms or thumping bass lines, musically induced bliss results. What happens when this atmosphere surfaces at a live show? Musically charged euphoria for all those present. White Denim performed this week at Crescent Ballroom for a Valentine’s Day showcase to a crowd eager for every note they had to offer. Opening was Phoenix/Los Angeles hybrids K N E S S E T, part shoegaze mixed with upbeat pop undertones describes their overall effect. With a full and enriched sound, the ensemble managed to fill both the stage area (and the patio) with a giant sea of harmony. As I sat eating my delicious burro, my ears were greatly satisfied with the music that surrounded me. Performing a generous amount tracks off of their first full length “Coming of Age” release, the notes and disposition were all effectively poignant. These guys were extremely good at setting the tone for the musical experience yet to come.
White Denim’s interesting variety of blues/ rock/ pop intersects in all the right ways. Their CD’s are filled with unexpected twists and dripping with that earnest prog-rock sensibility. Primarily promoting “D” their latest full length release, the boys were in fine form for their Centennial day performance. Though the crowd itself was not as densely packed as the last show I attended there, the quality of people present was sky high. Only genuine fans seemed to make this event a Valentine’s Day priority, but that made it all the easier to sequester near the stage. Perfect view in my sights, the bands opening number solidified everyone’s thoughts this was the place to be this centennial. With their pounding rhythms and r&b infused heavy instrumentation, the crowd was in a swaying-hipster dancing frenzy at the fantastic performance. Guitar solos galore, along with the best drummer I have seen in years, and the swelling soulful vocals of lead James Petralli made for an intoxicating blend of southern soul that can be hard to generate. Each member of the quartet had ridiculous musicianship that made you want to bask in the fact that such a well-balanced ensemble exists. They killed it again and again. The small crowd ate every bit of it up, and naturally cheered enthusiastically for the encore. Then my mind exploded. Encore shenanigans that included Petralli doing laps around the Crescent and then wailing passionately on one of my favorite White denim concoctions sealed the deal. This was one of my favorite shows of the past year. His energy was so infectious that I almost followed his lead and ran laps behind him. But I feared that would be overstepping boundaries.
White Denim is currently on tour. For a list of dates check out their website.