Live Review: White – Glasgow


whiteQMU, 20th February 2016

Words: Gary Feeney

I tweeted a week or so ago that White’s latest single, Living Fiction, sounds and feels just like a classic that’s been around for years. If you didn’t know better, you’d find it very hard to believe it was made by a band who hadn’t even embarked on their first headline tour at the time of release.

It was with much excitement then, that I was anticipating seeing them in the QMU last Saturday, after having saw them delivering a blistering set on the BBC Introducing stage at Leeds Festival. Perhaps my eagerness was also partially due to my chagrin at somehow managing not to have seen them in Glasgow before, but then again, they only played their first show in February last year which makes their trio of singles to date all the more impressive: in Living Fiction, Bliss and Future Pleasure, White have released three better singles than most bands could hope to muster in a career and I was desperate to see if the majesty of those pulsing, synth-tinged songs would translate on to the live stage (and in particular tonight’s actual stage: the QMU is a fair size for a fledging band to sell out and has saw performances from the likes of Nirvana in the past).

First impressions were certainly favourable. As the lights went down, an intro track boomed out as a video of a static effect was projected on to the back of the stage for a few minutes before the band took to the stage and when they did, it was immediately clear that they know the value of image and stagecraft with singer Leo Condie resplendent in a three-piece white (what else?) suit and boasting surely the finest musical fringe since Morrissey.

All of this could have been superficial, even over-the-top, of course, but should anyone in the noticeably diverse audience have harboured any suspicions of the sort, they were dismissed immediately as White launched in to the opening track One Night Stand Forever which, along with band, oozed with the same panache and power as the singles. What was immediately noticeable in their live sound that doesn’t come across quite as much on record is that there is a visceral, almost punky energy to the band’s music, a quality showcased by Be The Unknown. Another noticeable feature as the show proceeded was how impressive Condie’s voice is in terms of range, reach and power although it’d be remiss of me not to mention that his dance moves aren’t too shabby either!

Again, the visual spectacle on offer would be quite ludicrous in almost any other band’s hands, but here it seems perfectly appropriate and the whole group contribute to this, from lead guitarist Hamish Fingland (the ex-Kassidy musician, who switched between highly impressive guitar skills and his synthesiser throughout) to sequin-clad drummer Kirstin Lynn who attacks her kit with a fury that’d be hard to take your eyes off if it wasn’t for the show put on by her band as a whole.

Musically, there’s some obvious influences in White’s such as Roxy Music and Franz Ferdinand but as previously mentioned, they combine that with a drive that you wouldn’t normally associate with such stylings and it’s this which makes them so compelling on tracks such as Anonymous Acts, which was a personal highlight.

The downside of being such a new band (which is easily forgotten, such is the consistent quality of the set) is that White don’t actually have many songs as yet (the main set comprised of a mere 9 plus an encore) and so when Condie introduced saxophonist Tom Brogan, it was inevitable that it was time to unleash the singles. First up was Living Fiction which sounded even better than I had hoped it would have and I was strongly reminded of my tweet describing it as an instant classic – really, there’s no other way to describe it when it’s performed like this. No less impressive where Blush and Future Pleasures, although sandwiched in between these were Step Up and Private Lives, the latter in particular more than holding its own in strong company.

As the set came to an all-too-soon close, I was left with the thought that if the singles sound like songs that have been around for years then a live performance as assured, confident and downright thrilling live as tonight’s makes it feel like White have dropped down from much larger venues like the Barras or Hydro to play a club show rather than being on their first headline tour…and all of this without an album.

I’ve always wanted to go to the kind of gig where you watch a new band and just know that they’re destined for bigger things and that you are witnessing a special moment before they explode into the mainstream and last Saturday night, I finally experienced just such a performance.

Once the debut album appears, the only delay in White claiming their natural place in the big-time will be the general public catching up with their brilliance.

Watch the video for Living Fiction here:

2 Responses to “Live Review: White – Glasgow”
  1. Lucy mcCorkell says:

    Good review, although I think Chris Potter is lead guitarist?


  2. garyfeeney says:

    Reblogged this on General Smuts.


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