Live Review: White, Stereo, Glasgow, Fri 17 Jul
Scotland’s most exciting new band of the year play their biggest show to date, bringing with them echoes of LCD Soundsystem, The Associates and Simple Minds. Just don’t mention Kassidy
Welcome back to one of those gigs everyone remembers, the kind played at a point in a lucky band’s life when they’ve built a wave of local support and the eyes of Music Industry Central in London are settling upon them. Enthused by the thought of seeing them before they hit bigger stages and some of the magic is gone, everyone piles into a venue the size of a shoebox in the hope they’re still in time to scratch another notch into the ‘I was there, where were you?’ bedpost.
We’re more than willing to believe this was one of those shows where hope will triumph over hype, because (a) White are really good, and (b) they make us forget all about Kassidy. That’s right, yeah, the ones with the beards. The ill-fated former Glasgow trad-rockers who are represented here by guitarists Hamish Fingland and Chris Potter, and bassist Lewis Andrew, now demobbed from their old gig. Precious few people – or certainly, Glasgow hipsters – had a good word to say about Kassidy when they were around, but in truth they at least made a noisy and fast-paced racket with commendable focus when they were on the live stage.
Which brings us to White, of whom big things are expected, now one year on from their formation and freshly signed to RCA. Having seen them, we agree that success could well be on the cards, because, well, just like Kassidy… they make a noisy and fast-paced racket with commendable focus when they’re on the live stage. But the difference here is singer Leo Condie, formerly of the Low Miffs, a frontman with the arch, angular presence of Jarvis Cocker and the sunken-eyed insouciance of Simple Minds’ Jim Kerr back when his band made gaunt, otherworldly disco-punk odysseys. Condie's fringe is heroically floppy, his jacket eye-catchingly red.
White are derivative as hell, and all the better for it because they do it with a bit of passion and clear devotion to their influences. There are several scraps of the Associates in there alongside Simple Minds, the latter perhaps most evident on ‘Living Fiction’. The slow, clanging grind of ‘Recreational Television’ takes us into Public Image Limited territory and ‘Blush’ unexpectedly echoes Sparks in the majestically sullen Condie’s whooped, baroque closing lines.
It’s their debut single ‘Future Pleasures’ which provides the real breakthrough moment though, evoking memories of seeing Franz Ferdinand do ‘Take Me Out’ at the old Stereo for the first time. With a thumping disco drum machine beat laid over drummer Kirstin Lynn’s (like Condie, the other non-Kassidy survivor) energetic playing, a serrated guitar line and Condie yelping at us ‘future! / living! / the future is tonight!’, it evokes LCD Soundsystem by way of Madchester with some Scottish post-punk blended into the mix. It’s a thrilling, addictive combination. More now, please.
Seen at Stereo, Glasgow, Fri 17 Jul. White play the Solus Tent at Wickerman, Fri 24 Jul; Mumford & Sons' Gentlemen of the Road Festival, Aviemore, Sat 1 Aug; & Art Late North, Biscuit Factory, Edinburgh, Thu 13 Aug.