White Denim Rocks Out and Doesn’t Fray

I strolled into Antone’s Saturday night and notched my wcall for some local Austin music.  The top bill, White Denim, was who I was out for, but the opening acts kept the intrigue going.  I already pulled a 4-band-er Thursday and was anxious to see if they could last as long.  Where Thursday’s bill built up in awesomeness, this rock party was way more imbalanced.  Never fear, dear, as White Denim made it more than worthwhile and will last as one of the best small concerts I’ve ever been too.  Seriously, it was that good.

It was a local celebration Saturday as some radio station hosted the event and made the local beer fare, Shiner Bock that is, really cheap.  So the prospects were high.  First on the bill it was Not In The Face.  Keeping with the White Stripes and The Black Keys theme, it was a duo that consisted of a drummer and guitar player.  These guys were the surprise of the night.  The lead singer sported a ginger version of Motorhead’s Lemmy and did all he could to live up to his name.  He poured his soul into his guitars and sealed up the set with some wicked slide playing.  The drummer was no slouch either, he banged and bonged and kept up my heartbeat.  Not In The Face punched me hard in the stomach with Rock.

The punched so hard that the next two acts just didn’t seem to click with me.  Watch Out For Rockets seem like a pretty good late 90s Indie sauce, but it didn’t go down well with me.  I mean I got what they were doing but I wasn’t getting into it.  TV Torso felt like they were too smart for themselves.  The hard push toward melodies turned them into an offshot Beatles companion.  Again, they seem well put together, it just didn’t work out for me.

I wished the promoter put these two bands on first and then followed up with Not In The Face.  The build up for the night would have been 10 times better.  It’s a lesson for anyone out there putting together a bill.  Don’t try too hard in kicking off the show with a hot opener.  If you heard all of their stuff and know that the opener was better, mix it up a bit.  At least put them in the middle to give a hi/low path for the concertgoers.  Seriously, promoters and bars take note.

All of that didn’t harsh my buzz for the headliner, White Denim.  There’s something about this band that’s going to blow up real fast.  I know they’ve been playing together for years, and it shows in just how well they know each other when navigating through their jams.  It’s like they are one consciousness up there.  What turned me on to them was an Allman Brothers feel for their music.  They are technically talented enough that they could go into the jam band business but they have the edge and grit that the Allmans had in terms of blues and straight up hard rock.

It shows, too.  The bass player looked like he was either in pain or having sex the whole night.  That’s the mark of a great bass player.  The rhythm guitarist did his best Johnny Greenwood impersonation and stayed in the background while busting out some melodies.  The drummer kept it tight and made it just jazzy enough to keep my ears on its feet.  The lead singer has it all, his voice is strong and unique, the chops he busts out are impeccable, and his whole look and sway screams rock star.  These guys are gonna blow up fast and I’m lucky to attend the countdown to blast off.