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White Denim jams at Lincoln Park

By J.V. Siegel
On April 28, 2012

Crunchy. This term is defined by one user of the website Urban Dictionary as "quasi/modern day hippie; tends to wear no shoes, spends much of time finding way out of woods after smoking excessive amounts of weed, preferred fragrance = patchouli."

The scene at Lincoln Hall at around 9:15 p.m. could not have been less indicative of the bands to come. Attendees arrived to opening act Hundred Visions, banging out songs described by Day Trotter as: "... heavy on phat melodies and grooves, songs that - all at once - remind us of the Talking Heads, The Cure, Radiohead and classic British pop." To expect a high-energy performance was only logical.

Hundred Visions stole the night. Their energy and genuine pleasure derived from performing was immediately apparent, and the act benefited from it. The abridged set (the band doesn't have a full-record out yet) left a buzz in the air.

As the band took down their set-up, a projector screen fell and the Blackhawks-Coyotes game was broadcast. Not five minutes after the projection started, the Coyotes scored in overtime, assuring the team a 3-1 lead over the Blackhawks.

My introduction to White Denim was not spectacular. While waiting for the band to take the stage, a man came through the crowd behind me and attempted to take my spot at the front ... or so I thought. Being responsible for photographing the events, I blocked his path, only to have him move around me, jump on-stage and start setting up his bass guitar and pedals.

The quartet from Austin, Texas, launched into their symphony of crunchy grooves without missing a beat.

Woefully unprepared for White Denim's jam-band approach, it was difficult to judge the band outside of their musical prowess - one long song with the only deviation being the passing of the solo off to each other like it was a tangible object and not a musical concept.

While off-putting to some, White Denim's musical proficiency is second to none. However, after seeing the band in person, it's easy to attach the title "jam-band" to the act, which holds negative connotations for some. Jam-bands are to be experienced deliberately, and my experience was neither deliberate, nor expected.

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