Live Review: White Denim at HMV Forum

Posted on 25 May 2012
By Jon Smallwood
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White Denim, one of the most original, remarkable and talented rock bands of recent years performed earlier this week at one of London town’s finest live rock venues.

The atmosphere was electric, anticipation of all was clearly high. To complement the large and eagerly awaiting crowd, they began quietly and tentatively with a shimmer of guitars and through the first three back-to-back songs rapidly built to the defining wonder of momentum, intoxicating traded riffs and psychedelic craziness.

For a band sometimes criticised in the past for a lack of stage presence the interaction between guitarists was captivating while most audience eyes’ trained on James (guitarist and frequent singer) Petralli who twitched and convulsed to every groove and frequently changing dynamic.

Typically virtually silent in terms of spoken communication with the crowd, which matters to some, this was for all to see a band entirely engrossed in their art and in being so would have generated a truly memorable event had the sound at the HMV not been awful.

Somewhere between spectacle on stage and what we heard in the crowd, something had very regrettably gone wrong. You could almost touch the excitement, and wanted with everything so much to do so, to be part of the intensity on stage and these insane rhythms. But they were distant, as if playing a windy festival.

The swirling guitar effects absorbed themselves and both drums and vocals at times leaving Mr Petralli’s vocals at times entirely absent, with even such outstanding tunes as Shake Shake and Drug barely registering.

Such a shame, a great band seemingly let down by (or at least, in) a normally great venue. I’ll be back to see White Denim, I’ll be back to the forum, but to combine the two again will require some work.

Words: Jon Smallwood
Pictures: Lara Cullen