Almost six years ago to the date, I saw New York's White Hills live at Galeria Zé Dos Bois in Lisbon. After the gig, I spoke briefly with Dave W., the band's guitar slinger and singer, about music. This is what he had to say: "Music should be like a ham and cheese sandwich. You have some nice, soft bread, which sets up the base. Then you have the cheese. You got to be cheesy. But then you have to ham it up and deliver the meat! That's what we do."
So, last night, I was hungry for another one of those sandwiches and boy, did I get some...
The gig was the Warm Up for Reverence Valada Festival, an event which took place last year and became embedded on the circuits of the brains of those who attended such a near mythical event (hell, it had Hawkwind, Electric Wizard, Red Fang, Black Angels and Psychic TV as some of the headliners!).
After quite disposable psycho garage surf rock opening act Los Saguaros, whose singer should remain speechless between songs. His flimsy attempts at humor were not the best in the world (for example, to say: "Thank you for coming, up next the White Stripes! Jack White!! Meg White!!!", you get the idea), the not as crowded as it should be Musicbox venue was ready for some sonic assault.
Starting off with a frantic bass, drums and vocals beginning, it was just a prelude to what would ensue. As soon as Dave W. picks up his guitar after a preacher like singing moment, the tension that was gathered up in those first minutes was about to explode. Sure 'nuff, it did but explosion does not define what happened. A cataclysm of gigantic proportions is perhaps a better adjective to describe the sounds we were exposed to as everybody started headbanging into space. Ego Sensation's bass throttles like a rocket blast off and the guitar only gets you further and further out.
The combination of Ego Sensation's and Dave W.'s vocals only emphasizes this evil dark matter we are going to go through. There's a thrust coming out of the speakers and, like insects drawn to light, the audience only gets closer to the stage. The show becomes a hell of a ride as White Hills daub into their latest effort "Walks For Motorists". They might not be the Yuri Gagarin of Space Rock, but they are outstanding sonic astronauts and the audience is more than willing to sign up to be the new class of eager space cadets.
One of the highlights of the evening was the interstellar funereal dirge that is "Don't Be Afraid". Slow and doomy, we all get lulled into a black hole of cosmic oblivion. For their encore, they brought out "H-p1" which stands a gigantic middle finger against corporative ethos we have shoved down our collective throats. Sure, there was no "Oceans Of Sound" but I don't believe White Hills plan on having a "Paranoid", a "School's Out" or a "Silver Machine". Actually, they just move forward and that's how they are live. A never motionless entity that just won't stop for anything or anybody.
Always balancing between evil motorika rhythms and down and dirty groovy cosmic ooziness, White Hills know how to put on a riveting live show. One gets the feeling they never have "so-so" shows. With White Hills, we might always achieve high end top class sonic bliss. We, the audience, are never lost and the band never leaves us stranded on an asteroid field. They may be cheesy but they sure do deliver the meat...
Report made by Carlos Ferreira/2015
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