Monday, November 12, 2007

Perfect catchy pop to start off a wild experimental evening

Photograph by B. Nanna

Joe Williams may be a well-weathered 23-year-old electronic pop musician from Cleveland. He may also be skilled at crafting simple yet catchy songs utilizing drum loops, synths and a laptop. And he may have spent two years' worth of long, grueling workdays crafting his debut album, Smoke, as ringleader of White Williams. But onstage, he's just a kid, bouncing along excitedly (a few BPMs too many, I might add) as if he's getting ready to blow out his 8th birthday candle. As much as Williams tried to project authority at the Metro last Thursday with his request to dim the lights, his references to the smoke machine being installed in celebration of his album, or his "co-written song with Lindsey Buckingam," I couldn't get this image out of my head. His only analog instrument of the night was a melodica, aka the little organ that you hold up to your lips and blow into aka a child's toy. You see? I'm not crazy.

With all of this in mind, White Williams played an enjoyable, yet short set, opening for an incredible lineup of bands (Born Ruffians, Caribou, Battles). Joe was joined by a bass player and a lead guitarist as he stood centerstage flanked by a laptop and mixer and a large synthesizer. He, unfortunately, had to play to an audience that was just walking in since I believe the doors were delayed. This didn't stop them from rocking through "Headlines," the calypso-tinged "Going Down," and club favorite "New Violence." The crowd bobbed along with Williams the entire time.

On such an extremely varied and eclectic bill, chock full of bells and whistles, White Williams proved that getting down to basics can be just as effective at making the people get down. - B. Nanna