White Denim @ Leeds Stylus, 06/10/16

White Denim produce irresistibly catchy tracks and a wholesome sound, despite consisting of just four, rather unassuming, nerdy-looking lads channelling an integral 70s vibe. Having kicked off their UK tour in the wake of their most recent release Stiff, the Texan troupe came down to Stylus to add some pure, hip-swinging rock’n’roll to a Thursday evening.

The reaction to the evening’s soundtrack was rather quaintly dictated by the gig-goers stood in front of me – two boys and two girls. This group clearly consisted of a heterosexual couple, who had each brought an eligible friend along with them. Their responses to the tracks were what I am sure the band were hoping for. Their fearless enthusiasm (and growing state of inebriation) morphed and evolved as the set played out.

The first four tracks were from Stiff, the punters in front of me aptly bopping, swaying and grooving to the infectious beats and cunning riffs – still somewhat slightly reserved. As the band went up a gear, featuring tunes such as ‘River to Consider’ and ‘At the Farm’ from their 2011 release D. As the band erupted into zealous instrumental, the youthful lovers in front of me really let limbs flail, hips swing and pints slosh. Only at this point did the band break for breath and interact with the crowd, introducing their brand new drummer then rolling into (my all-time favourite) ‘Take It Easy (Ever After Lasting Love)’.

The group in front of me responded with arms snaking round their respective partner’s waist and exchanges of smirks. This reverie was then interrupted, as the pace resumed with a selection of tunes from Corsicana Lemonade and throwbacks to 2008’s Workout Holiday. Despite their ‘noughty’ release, the older tracks have not aged, with the vocals having evolved from a Thin Lizzy-esque style. The set closed with a couple of less memorable, prog-rock tracks from 2013 and 2014, but it seemed my new friends punters were spent, and welcomed the gradual hiatus. Having interspersed the evening with tunes from across their discography, it seems that Stiff is more reinvigorating and enthrallingly fun to play, setting the band up for a bright future.

Flora Tiley

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