ALBANY — The last time White Denim was in the Capital District was back in 2014. I remember being sorry I didn’t get to see its Sunday afternoon WEQX show at Nanola in Malta, so I certainly wasn’t going to miss the band when it returned to The Hollow Bar + Kitchen Saturday, July 23.
Since that show back in 2014 the band has been through some major changes. Guitarist Austin Jenkins and drummer Joshua Block left White Denim to work with Texas soul singer Leon Bridges, leaving James Petralli, vocal and guitars, and Steven Terebecki, vocals and bass to forge on.
Petralli and Terebecki have retooled White Denim with a new drummer, and this time a keyboard player instead of a second guitar. The format lent itself to a matured version of the band that really found its groove instantly, and things only got better from there.
Pettralli showed us that the band may have lost their lead guitarist but they’re not missing a beat, as he injected some great guitar solos throughout the set and never once did it seem self-indulgent. And, one last note on the new band members, the drummer is super new. Petralli announced that he joined the band just a week before!
The show opened with the funky groove-laden “Real Deal Momma” from the new record “Stiff,” as a matter of fact the show leaned heavily on the new record, almost to a fault. At some points I was wondering if there were something that Petralli and Terebecki were trying to tell us by omitting their single and money maker from the Jeff Tweedy produced “Corsicana Lemonade,” “Pretty Green.” I doubt I was the only one missing it since it was what brought many of us to the show.
A single from the “Stiff” album, “Ha Ha Ha Ha (Yeah)” was next up and I think surprised the crowd that it was up so early. A great rendition of a fun song, nonetheless. From here on out, White Denim delivered a super tight set, yet with room to breathe with a few jam moments. Some other highlights from the night included “Thank You,” “Holda (I’m Psycho),” “There’s a Brain in My Head,” “River to Consider” and “I Start to Run.”
Overall, it was a great show with a killer guitar tone from Petralli and that awesome Rickenbacker bass sound from Terebecki. What more do you need? The only thing else this fan could have asked for was “Pretty Green.”