Monday 1 June 2015

On Stage: Bop English

White Denim's James Petralli recently released a solo record Constant Bop as Bop English although he admits is more collaborative. White Denim fans don't need to worry since the band is still together and alive and kicking. Petralli worked on the Bop English material by himself for the past years, where White Denim is more of a true band effort. All of the other band members play on this record as well as do many others. And so some of his band buddies join him and a few others to play the Bop English songs live on stage.

Bop English at Bitterzoet Amsterdam, May 26 2015

This explains why we see familiar faces on stage tonight at the Bitterzoet venue. And most of them keep smiling throughout the whole show. Especially Petralli seems to be enjoying himself a lot and for a good reason. Since the music isn't so much different than the White Denim songs. The compositions are exciting, daring and full of nice twists and turns, played by skilled musicians. The sound is a bit fuzzy and guitar licks are tumbling over drum rolls and fills. And of course the songs don't stick to a specific genre but are a mix country, rock, pop, jazz and more.

The music does sound a bit less consistent than White Denim's, in a way that songs seem to be more improvised or stretched out which doesn't always work out. Maybe that's what explains the big laughs Petralli is sometimes throwing to his band mates because maybe something worked out or maybe it just didn't. In the end that's what you get when you are playing music this way, sometimes it simply will spin out of control. And maybe that's exactly what Petralli wants to happen with Bop English. And isn't that exactly what people came to see tonight? I can't imagine there's anyone going home disappointed. White Denim buddy Steve Terebecki gets a chance to show his rough side in the encore when he's picking up the mic for a screaming punk song. After a bit more than an hour the show comes to an end. Let's hope Petralli can find a way to balance his time between White Denim and Bop English since both are worth hearing and seeing on a regular basis.

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