“I want one of those WHITE tees, but a pink WHITE t-shirt” confesses The Van T’s Hannah Van Thompson mid set to those awaiting the nights headliners appearance, although given the rather tasty clamour on show around the merch area at conclusion of this gig she may have had a fight on her hands to acquire said item.
Perhaps her buddies in WHITE will have had the foresight to hold one back for her, we can only hope, but if The Van T’s continue on their current trajectory maybe Leo and co. will be requesting swag.
Following the release on Bloc+Music of impressive EP Laguna Babe the quartet show QMU their visceral performance at Tenement Trail was not mere flash in the pan.
Lazy comparisons with the likes of Dum Dum Girls may have already been made, but that is simply dumb dumb as this gang already sound like they’ve been on the road for years.
Effortlessly blending grunge garage alongside Beach Boys-esque vocal harmonies topped off by some proper raw fizzing riffs headed by other sister act half Chloe they manage to craft a sound both fresh yet retro.
As they pummel through ‘Growler’, which features both tasty riffs and those catchy distinctive vocal harmonies, we begin to see sections of the audience cave in to their undeniable charms.
Setting us up beautifully for our headliners another stand out of The Van T’s short set is recent single and set closer ‘Laguna Babe’, which bursts from a sombre opening into some thrashy sleaze rock brilliance; here in particular the witty play off between the twins is evident while Shaun Hood’s irresistible drum beat compliments the scuzzy shoegaze vibe.
Despite having yet to actually release an album WHITE still seem worthy of a UK wide headline tour, having now built up something of a healthy following in recent times.
Healthy following may actually be an understatement because, as frontman Leo Condie tells us, tonight is yet another sell out for the Glasgow five-piece.
During ‘Anonymous Act’ I had to double check that this wasn’t 1984, that I wasn’t in the Pavilion and no I wasn’t in the presence of a certain Billy Mackenzie.
Condie provides such fabulously theatrical shrieks that at times I do start to wonder if I have Deloreaned it off to an Associates concert, which is no bad thing.
As per usual ‘One Night Stand Forever’ provides a terrific opener as Condie and guitarist Hamish Fingland gyrate semi widely around the stage as drummer Kirstin Lynn pounds the hell out of her kit and lighting afforded by a headline tour adds to this dramatic tone being fleshed out.
From the hooky brilliance of ‘Future Pleasures’ to the groovy electro of ‘Living Fiction’, the set flows and is liberally sprinkled with the sort of consistent quality unusual for an act without an album release to date.
We are introduced to sax player Tom Brogan who we are informed is the best in the business and who gives the remainder of the pieces an extra dimension.
As the band fire up the pulverising ‘Blush’ pockets of the audience are stirred into finger pointing and foot stomping as we scream along “you got it all wrong,” as if it were already a new romantic classic hit of yesteryear.
Wrapping the cord around his neck mid song, while maintaining his singing duties along with the pose of a man who was single handedly Spandau Ballet in a previous life, the WHITE vocalist appears to be having the time of his life up there.
He and the band seem rather pleased with themselves, and so they should as everyone shouts “COME ON!” to the funk romp blast of ‘Private Lives’.
Showing yet further electro capabilities amongst this tight unit the game is stepped up even further with the fantastic slow brooding dancefloor repetition on ‘Step Up’, which is a personal highlight and stands out from the rest of the cuts, one can only presume this minimal beauty gets put to tape.
During the slick ten song 45-minute-ish bonanza of lush sounds it is again reaffirmed that this band must be taken seriously as all components are in place; strong material with a wide palette of influences coupled with an immersive live experience expertly executed by a confident unit.
All this should equal many more headline slots to come and with some luck that debut record.
Words: Andy Quigley
Photos: Stewart Fullerton