LIVE: The Pale White – The Garage, Highbury, London, 07/12/2023

LIVE: The Pale White – The Garage, Highbury, London, 07/12/2023

Stereotypes are being broken tonight. I’m attending a gig headlined by an alt-rock bloke band, shunning my usual penchant to spotlight female artists. Meanwhile on stage The Pale White frontman Adam Hope is shattering the myth about gritty Geordies disregarding the cold as he takes to the stage wearing a coat. What would they say back on The Quayside?

Newcastle is united at Highbury for the London headline show with brothers Adam (vocals) and Jack Hope (drums) and Dave Barrow (bass). Celebrating their recently released A New Breed EP

There’s certainly more than one black and white shirt in the crowd at The Garage tonight – but what can this tune army offer their devotees?

Loud but never impenetrable, The Pale White bring a heady mix of classic rock, psyched out grooves and grunge. ‘How Far Can You Push A Man?’ from the new EP kicks off the night with a blast of urgent, repetitive rock. ‘Dogs’ follows – a multi-layered, canine psyche trip – like an imagined Crufts anthem – if it was held in Seattle and created by a committee of stoned rockers.

Appropriately, this Tyneside trio are musical magpies. ‘Taste The Sun’ from the new release has hints of The Smashing Pumpkins with psyched-out flourishes whilst ‘Trapped Nerve’ would please Queens Of The Stone Age fans. ‘The End Of Time’ is grungier too but there are also moments of lighter, more infectious rock including ‘Reaction’ and ‘That Dress’ which deliver an almost glam rock groove. ‘Panic Attack’ is a pure garage-rock romp fizzing with classic rock licks. ‘Infinite Pleasure’ simply smoulders and crashes in equal measure.

Throughout all this Adam and Dave engage with the crowd. There’s no arrogance and they know where they’re from. After several shouted requests the band let the fans choose a song – ‘Swim For Life’ wins out. As if to acknowledge that respect a Newcastle United shirt is hurled on to the stage. Meanwhile Jack is driving the whole gig with his relentless and flawless drumming which is especially epic on ‘Never Enough’ and ‘Glue’.

Before the inevitable encore begins Adam teases the Garage crowd by promising one…then two…then three songs to end the set. Still no sign of him losing his jacket though but sibling Jack has liberated himself. He leaves his drums behind and climbs off the stage to the waiting arms of adoring fans as they hold him aloft. He deserves the acclaim. There was a time when trips to the capital by Geordies would always end in defeat but tonight The Pale White emerge victorious. Two years on from their Infinite Pleasure debut album The Pale White have nailed this live lark. Howay the lads. Back of the net, indeed.

Photos: Don Blandford

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