White Wine leave a lasting impression on their Bristol audience with an outstanding set and general chaos
The show started with lead singer Joe Hagae sitting on a chair in the bar and calmly stripping down to his pants before redressing in black trousers and shirt. The opening strains of ‘Zeitgeist Plagiarist’, from their debut album ‘Who Cares What the Laser Says?’ started pumping out from the stage. Hagae shone a green laser around the bar before grabbing a mic and sliding down the bannisters onto the dance floor, finally taking his place. So began a night of drama and tight, weird, danceable music.
White Wine specialise in a kind of funked up, off kilter electronica that swings between mechanised noise and melodious rock music. The themes are the sticky problems of living in the digital age. White Wine manages to make the virtual world a human place, powerfully and passionately dissecting the seedy underbelly of removing oneself from direct communication.
The band is tight and inventive. All three members play a variety of instruments, swapping seamlessly throughout the set. Hagae couldn’t stay on the stage, constantly promenading around the space, writhing on the floor, beating his microphone on the ground to create percussion. It broke, he apologised.
Although the venue is small and the turnout just about what you’d expect on a Monday night, the crowd were soon whooping with delight at the performance antics of this eccentric group. White Wine hail from Leipzig, Germany, although the lead singer is originally from Portland. Joe Hagae has been in several other bands including 31 Knotts, Tu Fawning, Menomena and Dodos. Likewise Fritz Brückner (keyboard, synths and other stuff) has been in electro-punk outfit Blut Sport Disco. You can tell that they are experienced performers. They certainly know how to work a room. As Hagae sings “…puffing out their chests” is the very first number, he beats his torso with a pompous look on his face.
The title track of their new album ‘Who Cares What the Laser Says?’ is another stand-out moment. Especially when Hagae grabs the sticks to alternate between playing drum pads and guitar. Several of the numbers also include bassoon, played by the talented Fritz Brückner. This adds to the immediacy of the music with its rich low harmonies. The newest member of the band, Christian “Kirmes” Kuhr, never misses a beat on the drums. One of the joys of the night is in seeing how between just the three of them, White Wine manage to make all of this noise. The set is very close to the sound on the album- it feels as if every component recorded in the studio is faithfully recreated on the stage- every maraca shake, synth beat and bassoon note is played out in front of us.
As the set draws to a close, the pedals for Hagae’s guitar fail. Luckily they can still find three songs that can be played as promised to the audience. By now no one can help but dance to the loping idiosyncratic sounds emitting from the stage.
This is one band that is not to be missed. Unfortunately this is one of only three nights in the UK – White Wine play the Drift Bar in Portsmouth on Friday 20. If you can, go.
This White Wine article was written by Fraisia Dunn, a GIGsoup contributor