February 18, 2019


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Live Review: White Denim, BC Camplight at Bristol O2 Academy

Brian Christinzio, for BC Camplight is he, has been around the block several times now.

His first three albums didn’t make much of a dent despite critical approval, and he was subsequently dropped by One Little Indian. With his second album on Bella Union, his fourth in total, he seems to be starting to gain some traction on this side of the pond.

It has to be said that is largely down to last year’s crossover hit I’m Desperate, but beyond that there is much to enjoy. Christinzio is quite the raconteur, and throughout the entirety of this support slot he has the continually expanding crowd entertained. There is a real off-beat sense of humour to both he and his music, more akin to one of those wise-cracking American stand-ups; When I Think About My Dog is a solemn, piano-led ballad complete with barking, for example.


He regales the crowd by informing us that Am I Dead? was written about a previous experience gigging in Bristol, and Fire In England was inspired by a rejection letter, as signed by Theresa May, following his request for citizenship. But, everyone is here for I’m Desperate, and his live band don’t let him down, shaking the rafters and leaving White Denim with a tough act to follow.

They don’t even try to follow suit. The Texans are all about the music, delivering their set in a series of medleys, demonstrating their impressive musical ability and synchronicity. It’s very clearly built on friendship and respect as the four members frequently make eye contact and nod appreciatively at one another, be it during bass solos or drumming frenzies. The sky gets kissed a lot.

At one point, Steven Terebecki breaks a string on his bass and the band have to stop. Frontman James Petralli awkwardly addresses the crowd as he tells us that it’s only the second time in twelve years such a thing has happened. But undeterred, they pick up exactly where they left off, what surely must be hours and hours of rehearsal times paying off. Not so much watertight as ironclad. Nearly as impressive are Petralli’s facial expressions as he mouths every movement on the fret to himself. It’s pure unadulterated joy and is worth the entrance fee alone.

With eight albums in a decade, and a ninth forthcoming this spring, White Denim have built up a formidable back catalogue and the set spans their whole career. The medley style they’ve adopted isn’t wholly successful and does start to get repetitive during the fifth or sixth offering. It becomes hard to differentiate and appears as one long jam, which must be great fun to participate in but not so much to watch.

But on its own merits, not least for the proficiency on display, there is much to admire here.

(Richard Bowes)

By Live4ever - Posted on 15 Feb 2019 at 10:35am 

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