Things get a bit tense when my heart develops an innate panic and reminds me that the gush of outdoor summer music festivals is about to run dry. While some creatures store and bury nuts for fortitude, Halfway 2 Nowhere contributors build up live music festival memories to relive during bleak winter evenings. Thus it was time to snag a cheeky one day ticket to Bingley to catch the wonderful Tom Grennan, Cabbage, my fellow Welsh homeboys The Manic Street Preachers and before all that to check out the buzz around Newcastle’s finest, The Pale White.
The Pale White had it a little hard on this experience; an early start time on the first evening of Bingley Festival meant the party people barely had chance to slip into their hot pants, pink boob tube, and glitter their faces before The Pale White had ended their set. The sneaky approach of the Bingley Festival organisers to not publish set times on-line or at the venue unless you shelled out an extra fiver for a bit of shiny paper stuck on a cheap lanyard probably didn’t help either.
Given the slight dearth of audience for the start of the set, it was thus perhaps no surprise that for the first three songs The Pale White were distinctly noticeable for getting into their stride. Lead Singer Adam Hope gamely pretended it was summer weather on behalf of us all striding energetically around the stage with his shades and black T-shirt. Thanks for taking a hit for the team, man. Drummer brother Jack Hope seemed to be conducting a work out session to hit energetic tempo, his hair slowly picking up the tempo a few beats behind him. Ultra cool bassist Tom Booth makes up the trio. At this point it felt they were each isolated on their own portion of the stage; they were OK, but not fully gelling it together.
I was vaguely putting a mind to nipping across to the real ale tent when suddenly The Pale White seemed to click on and become the band they were born to be. Their experience of supporting the likes of Twin Atlantic, and The Amazons from a standing start in early 2015 meant they had dug in and delivered. From here on in we were treated to a tight performance from the Newcastle Upon Tyne lads with a great rolling strong beat. While this was not a particularly flamboyant, chatty or dramatic performance, it was a hard working band comfortable wearing black, prowling with menace and slowly eventually owning every inch of the stage. Songs from The Pale White’s ultra cool forthcoming 12 inch white vinyl EP (entitled TPW) to be released on 29 September containing the tracks Reaction, Let You Down, Turn It Around and Downer unsurprisingly featured high and hard on the set list.
Bassist Tom has described The Pale White sound as “The Black Keys and Nirvana had a baby”, and live we were treated to a pretty perfect series of banging tunes. I also think Queens of the Stone Age fans would not be disappointed here. Turn It Around has that confident Black Keys roll with plenty of chorus opportunity for this fan boy to sing along and there’s enough rock god guitar to keep Josh Homme content. The song is about a couple attracted to one another but where one of the party doesn’t have the confidence to dive into their feelings. Current single Downer has a sad urgency to it, and again another tune with plenty of opportunity for audience participation.
While the summer drizzle was slowly but steadily grew to a full on rain storm as the set progressed, there remained an impressive number of die-hards doing their own private rain dances. By the time of my personal favourite Reaction, which has something of Alex Turner’s cool sneer about it, there was plenty of head shaking; I like to think it was the music rather than shaking the rain out of our hair. I’m interpreting the lyrics of Reaction to be about a similar topic to Turn It Around, so perhaps there is an unrequited love theme going on for these lads.
With a happy farewell, The Pale White was an early highlight for our Bingley Festival experience. I’ll certainly be looking forward to seeing them again in Leeds Wardrobe on 30 September as headliner of the Live at Leeds Ones to Watch 2018 event.
The Pale White’s debut EP is available to pre-order (released 29 September 2017) at http://thepalewhite.bigcartel.com/product/tpw-ep. Reader, I bought the pre-order.