I haven’t been to The Tunnels for many years. My last hazy memory of the subterranean venue is one of what I once thought to be high drama. Fuelled by far too many shots bought from someone pushing a trolley, I shuffled around the dance floor as the DJ played an Interpol song, oblivious to the fact that someone I knew was putting the moves on to the girl I liked. He was knocked back pretty sharpish, and a confrontation was avoided. Probably for the best as I’m not hard and the DJ probably played fucking Go Team or something afterwards.
The band are called White and they would be the perfect soundtrack to dance floor based drama involving love, strident declarations and sorrow. They roam the same stratosphere as 80’s New Pop figureheads such as ABC and The Associates. The guitar chops are hard, like LCD Soundsystem. And there’s Bowie in there, of course. The group members have all been around the Scottish music scene before under various guises. And they look fantastic. More pop groups should look fantastic. Drummer Kirsten Lynn is resplendent in gold lame. Guitarist Hamish Fingland pulls off a pink shirt/check trousers/Adidas trainers combo with aplomb, a rockabilly bowling kingpin. The frontman is Leo Condie. He has fucking fantastic hair and is very entertaining on Twitter. I might be wrong but he is wearing a sparkly….blouse (?). It looks like one Morrissey wore in 1991. The cherry on the cake is a bright red leather jacket.
There are neon lights propped up around the stage and the occasional belch of a smoke machine, giving off a pleasing ‘Eighties Top of the Pops’ vibe. Condie says this is the first show of their first tour. The set is short and sharp, as you’d expect from a band yet to release an album. However, they have a trio of stellar singles to hang the rest of the set off of. Franz Ferdinand are an obvious reference point, a band that set out (initially) to ‘make records that girls can dance to’. And the girls here are dancing. This is music aimed at the feet and the heart. Condie delivers every lyric as though it’s a slogan painted on a wall in three feet high letters, while the throb of the band’s music pulses around him. Chris Potter delivers flick knife sharp guitar solos when the brief opportunities open up. ‘Blush’ rolls out with a sleazy hint of danger. Condie decorates ‘Future Pleasures’ with a post-‘Sulk‘ Billy Mackenzie-like warble.
Current single ‘Living Fiction’ closes the set, angular guitars ushering in a sparkling chorus. By now, singer Condie’s previously triumphant hair is now falling about his face making him look like the bastard love child of Brett Anderson and Bryan Ferry. The band are nearly crashing into each other at times as they whirl around the stage. White need a bigger stage. They deserve a bigger stage. I hope they find it.
The group are touring through the rest of February and March:
20th Glasgow, QMU
26th Manchester, Soup Kitchen
27th Nottingham, Bodega
28th Bristol, The Louisiana
1st Brighton, The Green Door Store
2nd London, The Brewhouse
3rd Birmingham, The Rainbow Complex