Although less than a decade old, Austin band White Denim has managed to sprawl from its homegrown roots in Austin to touch fans of all kinds across the world. The group members’ approach to the psychedelic rock world and extensive touring schedule have helped them spread their name far and wide.
White Denim began in early 2006 when two local Austin groups, Parque Touch and Peach Train, came together after a show at Beerland to become one. Over the course of time, one member moved to Russia. But the rest stayed behind to eventually form what we know today as the progressive rock quartet.
With six albums and five EPs to their name, White Denim knows their way around the block by now. Their latest album, Corsicana Lemonade, was produced by the one and only Jeff Tweedy of Wilco. Not to mention, lead singer James Petralli is the son of former baseball star Geno Petralli, who appears on many of my childhood baseball cards.
I was fortunate enough to attend White Denim’s first Austin City Limits taping earlier this month, and boy did they deliver. ACL’s own Terry Lickona was beaming as he introduced the group for their debut taping, which was streamed live for fans across the world (White Denim has a huge following in the UK).
There were points during the night when I thought they may never stop soloing, with James Petralli and Austin Jenkins (guitar) trading licks and harmonizing, while making it look as easy as an open book final. They were going at it full steam. At one point during the show, an ACL employee ran on set between songs to wipe the sweat from Petralli’s face, only to have it return seconds into the next song.
They opened with the ever popular “Pretty Green” and didn’t slow down throughout. It was mainly business on stage, but showing their individual quirkiness every now and again, they ran through their set like a well versed pile driver. At points during the show, you could tell many in the crowd didn’t know how to move to keep up with the experimental songs taking place before them.
Petralli ended the set by angrily snapping the strings on his guitar, all but one, and waving a thankful goodnight to the Austin City Limits crowd. I would definitely recommend seeing the group live. You can catch their tour dates on their website. You’ll walk away smiling, feeling alive and, to be honest, a little shaken up.
Have you ever seen Austin band White Denim perform? What was your impression?
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