The ATX Converge show at Mohawk was the place to be on Friday night. The evening featured an eclectic lineup of some of Austin's best acts: Belaire, Black Joe Lewis, Freshmillions, and my favorite live band, White Denim. When I arrived the place was packed and there was a line down the block to get in. I was worried I'd get shut out so I quickly started formulating ways to sneak into the club. Fortunately, I got in and met up with my friend Callie (aka Show Lush) as Black Joe Lewis & The Honeybears finished up their set.
Belaire took the main stage next and did what they do best: melodic synth pop. The biggest compliment I can give them is they're both catchy and unique. I was doing my dorky head bob to each song but never thought "Oh! they remind me of so and so." Usually within 5 minutes of listening to a band I can name 3 or 4 other bands that share their sound. Not with Belaire.
While Belaire put on a good show I was really just counting the minutes until White Denim went on. I assumed they'd play the main stage but towards the end of the Belaire set, a friend texted us to hustle to the indoor stage. It's a good thing because it filled up fast (Thanks Amber!).
After a quick soundcheck the lead singer, James Petralli, just looked at the other guys, shrugged his shoulders, and said, "Ready?" Then they launched into their set at 100 mph. The first 20 minutes were the most fun I've had at any show this year. Rolling Stone says "the band combines the Stooges' raw power, Hendrix's psychedelic flourishes and the White Stripes' stripped-down blues rock". Yeah, that's about right. As they play you're compelled to do a little hip shake and ass wiggle. I bounced up and down so much that my calves were killing me the next day. Here's a bit of the show. The video quality is pretty bad but you get a sense of what it's like at a White Denim show.
As you can see, this power trio plays raucous blues-rock, rattling garage rock, whatever you want to call it. Songs such as "Shake, Shake, Shake", "Darksided Computer Mouth", and "All You Really Have To Do" make for an explosive live show. My only complaint is they didn't play "Let's Talk About It". Maybe it'll make it onto the set list this weekend at Austin City Limits. Other than that, it was another fantastic show. After being blown away by them last month I was prepared for a letdown. Nothing would compare to that first show, right? Actually, this show was as good as the first. They displayed the same raw power and the smaller setting worked well. There was a mutual symbiosis going on. The band fed off the fan's energy and vice versa, like Clownfish and Sea Anemones.
Interesting tidbit: During the show I took note of the cool Minnesota Twins shirt James Petralli was wearing. I later learned the band has a lot of ties to professional baseball. Petralli had a grandfather that played for the Washington Senators, as did Josh Block, the drummer. Weird, huh? Plus, Petralli's father was a catcher in the Major Leagues for 12 years. I wonder if George Brett ever told him any funny poop stories. Bassist Steve Terebecki apparently has no relations to professional athletes, but word is he's a killer on the hand ball court.
Finally, I tried for a witty title, a funny pun, something. I came up with nothing. All I had was "White Power" but the last thing we need need is people thinking we support skinheads. If I missed an obvious title, please let me know.