White Denim Drop Jaws at Brooklyn Bowl

June 24th, 2013

White Denim – Brooklyn Bowl – June 22, 2013

I honestly don’t think White Denim realize how good they are. Like a giant mastiff unaware of how big it is, trying to sit on your lap like it’s a Chihuahua, the band plopped down a massive set of rock and roll on a sold-out Brooklyn Bowl Saturday night. Yeah, sure, no big deal to them, it seems, but the show began with a stunning 30-minute section, zipping through multiple songs, old and new, at breakneck speed without any clear boundary between them—one not quite finished before the next began. This opening stretch was sandwiched around the giddy “Drug” before ending with the rollicking “I Start to Run,” with those two song titles perfectly summing up the combined effect.

Those in the crowd spent half their time skillfully gawking and the other half jam-dancing while White Denim proved themselves to be musical hoarders: amassing notes and songs and genres through the course of the set. Not quite discarding the previous to make way for the new, but rather just cramming it all into the few remaining crevices in the sound. If you wanted to stop and take a breath to digest what you’d just heard, or perhaps even discuss it with your neighbor, you were in danger of missing the next jaw-slackening four-man foray. Best just to give an acknowledging nod and keep on dancing.

But as impressive as the first half of the show was, the second half was a tour de force. Leaning heavily on the superlative material from 2011’s D, White Denim mixed together prog jams and Southern rock into a perfect recipe, the musical equivalent of Brooklyn Bowl’s rock and roll fries. They might not know how good they truly are, but White Denim are learning pretty fast. —A. Stein