WHITE performed at The Bodega Social Club in Nottingham on 27th of February 2016, with support by Lowrie and Twin Kidd
efore WHITE rip onto the stage with the power and rock ‘n’ roll ostentation of super group heavyweights, we don’t know what to expect. Entering the intimate venue, a bespectacled man sits behind a merchandise table. He thanks people for coming, and modestly hopes the show will meet their expectations – the man is Lewis Andrew, WHITE’s bassist. The crowd gather tentatively. A young man, with a bushy mop of hair steps on the stage and opens a laptop. This isn’t the sound technician, it is the first support act, and he calls himself Lowrie.
“I decided to get with the times and get a laptop. I’m not regretting it. It’s a lot of fun.” After a brief introduction, the Nottingham local and former acoustic artist begins to perform. He delivers an engulfing sound that demands our attention. His primal, heartfelt wails fill the stage more than one man should be capable of, vibrating the headline act’s drum set behind him.
His new direction has clearly been informed by his acoustic background, and the resulting music is often experimental – “out there” in his words – giving the impression that it has been shaped by countless days spent messing around with sound in his bedroom. Through his live sampling, he seems to create a symbiotic relationship with his equipment, moving his hands like a classical composer, the music flows through him, and the result is quite captivating.
Lowrie’s blend of classical piano sounds, modern synth and echo-enhanced vocals is a spectacle to behold. There is a personal resonance here, and it has the sparse crowd engrossed – his aching falsetto voice evokes a less-refined Thom Yorke. He earnestly sings of love and regret, and his lyrics have a reflective maturity. “I’m try’na make it big in a world full of arrogance” – he sings in the standout song, For Reasons Unknown – as if his words are a memoir based on his perception of the music industry. The show is off to a good start.
The next act, the Alternative Pop trio Twin Kidd, also hail from Nottingham. This gig marks their live debut. Although they use more traditional instruments, with the aid of a few laptops, they are able to complement Lowrie’s indie-vibes with mellow, free-spirited fun. Front women Stef Williamson commands the band. Her soulful, Lorde-esque vocals over the keyboard and guitar of Rich Lyon and the drums of Sam Davies keep the standard high. Their sound is at once dreamy, soothing and funky – a curious blend of electronica backing tracks and subdued pop melodies.
Understandably, their stage presence is of a fresh-faced band not yet quite sure of their ability. But what these newcomers lack in confidence, they more than make up for in their highly adept delivery of catchy songs. Influenced by the foot-tapping Pop Rock of HAIM, and underpinned by electronic beats, channelling bands like Gorillaz and Chvrches, Twin Kidd unravel a pleasing collage of chirpy tunes.
As Williamson tentatively picks up the guitar, her harmonies seem to melt into the purple hues of the stage lighting. The crowd unwind, Twin Kidd succeed splendidly in easing us into the coming experience.
Enter: WHITE. The Glaswegian headline act ignite the stage, immediately picking up the tempo with their hot off the press song One Night Stand Forever – their delivery is explosive and dancing is inevitable. Although this marks their first headline tour, their effortless coolness and flawless delivery gives the impression that they are seasoned performers – and indeed they are. Three of the band are former members of the folk-rock outfit Kassidy, before the band spit (their lead singer leaving the group, to be in Los Angeles with his then girlfriend, Lana Del Rey.) Guitarists Hamish Fingland and Chris Potter, drummer Kirstin Lynn and bassist Lewis Andrew are joined by lead singer Leo Condie – a former member of another disbanded Glaswegian group, Low Miffs.
Perhaps ironic – considering the band’s name – the pink neon tubes on the stage match the colourful electronic funk sound the band delivers. Condie’s voice is exceptional – an eclectic fuse of Jarvis Cocker and the post-punk energy of Franz Ferdinand’s Alex Kapranos. Wearing a flamboyant red leather jacket, he playfully dances with the microphone stand – belting out songs with the self-assured authority of a true rock star. The band firmly wedge their foot in the door, their dazzling prowess is even more remarkable coming from a band yet to release their first album. They certainly make a good first impression.
WHITE continue to perform expertly crafted songs throughout their set, delivered with studio-polished expertise. The audience are enthralled – this band is a force to be reckoned with. While Lynn pounds the snare drum with momentous energy, the guitarists’ dexterous execution of sensational hooks and pounding basslines are a match for the spectacle of Condie’s powerhouse vocals. The band draw inspiration from the pulsing dance beats of LCD Soundsystem to create an enticing combination of guitar-driven punk that is relentlessly groovy.
Halfway through their set, they launch into the phenomenal Living Fiction, and their tunes are firmly imprinted into our minds. Their song Blush couples taut, guitar smacking rhythm with a hair-raising chorus, allowing Condie to reach his shrieking vocal zenith.
Channelling the best of 1980’s pop through a distinctly modern mouthpiece, they close the show with their hit debut single Future Pleasures. The poppy, yet other-worldly anthem exhibits the group’s annihilating, euphoric spirit.