SXSW Live Shot: White City

Kabul N’ Roses

While White City lists as from Kabul, Afghanistan, they’re not really from Kabul. Singer Ruth Owen actually hails from Shepherd’s Bush in London. She’s even written a song about Nando’s, which, short of footie and chips, is about the most English thing you could write a song about.

Save for the odd bits of geography coloring their music – instead of sex, drugs, and rock & roll, it’s beer, guns, and women hiding behind burkas – the formula’s pretty much the same. To that end, White City arrives as just a rock band. There’s nothing particularly exotic about them beyond their “hometown.”

Photo by John Anderson

Okay, not every rock band has had a guitar player survive Dengue fever, and they have bitchin’ riffs and influences (someone listened to Guns N’ Roses’ Appetite for Destruction a fair amount), and enough presence of mind as performers to interact with the audience. That’s easy when you’re playing a venue the size of a closet, but you can choose not to shoegaze.

Put it all together, and it’s a pretty good mélange of nü metal, early-Eighties Brit hard rock, and the odd curveball of a meth’ed up Sam & Dave riff. Play loud and you’ll draw an audience.

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White City, SXSW Music 2014, Guns N’ Roses, Sam & Dave

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