Brighton based 5-piece, White Room, came to Manchester as part of their three-date UK tour, which took place over Independent Venue Week. The group have an experimental sound, they merge together dreamy-pop with captivating electronic tones to create charismatic and unique music.
Opening the night were electro-psychedelic trio Afghan Sand Gang. The band pull a wide array of sounds, everything from pop to rock, but also from other cultures with some of their tracks using eastern sounds and beats. The slow rhythms feel like something you might hear in an Arabian dessert, but this is built up with synthesisers to create a brilliantly powerful sound. The venue remained very quiet until just before the band began performing, it felt like everyone was waiting just outside the doors for them to begin. Their set took over the room, everyone was moving and enjoying the music, unlike many support bands I see, where the audience are chatting and not really paying attention, everyone in the room was there to see Afghan Sand Gang, just as much as they were to see White Room.
White Room began their set with Circles, instantly pulling in the crowd with the electrifying opening, using bass to build up into a hypnotising riff. The frontman of the band has a strong theatrical presence, almost like David Bowie, it feels like he is playing a character and putting on a show, not just singing, but letting the music take over. Other tracks included were Cable-Built Dreamland, another multi-layered song, using bass, guitars, synthesisers and experimental effects to make the sound as bold and profound as possible. The band’s latest release, Bleeding, was also featured, beginning with a bold vocal, jumping straight into the lead of the song and letting the music build up behind it. As well as released tracks, the group performed some songs which were pretty new, one of which saw its debut performance, called Saturn and another, 1/20. Twisted Celebration and Cannibal Song were also included in the set, showing a slightly slower and sometimes darker side to White Room but equally brilliant.
To close the night White Room performed fan favourites, Shoot and The Blue, the lively tracks brought the gig to a close and everyone had a dance along and immersed themselves in the music. Before leaving, frontman, Jake, came back on stage and performed a solo track on the piano, titled Missing You. The music has jazz influences and is fronted by a passionate vocal, the audience were hypnotised watching the stage and taking in every second, it was a beautiful way to end the fascinating gig.
Their sound is very unusual, like I say, similar to Bowie, using quirky but precise tones which are lifted with the charming performance, fuelled by the personalities of the group, who really do let the music take over the night.
PHOTO BY OLIVIA KENNY