White Reaper = Widespread Chaotic Harmony. White Reaper Plays Their Hometown At A Sold Out Headliner's Music Hall
LOUISVILLE, KY– I remember the very first time I caught White Reaper – it was a cold, winter’s night in our hometown of Louisville, KY. I’d listened to Reaper for a while but never truly understood how big they were locally. For whatever reason, I decided to wait and buy my ticket on the day of the show only to find out the show had sold out. I was bummed, to say the least, but as luck would have it, one of my friends ended up deciding minutes before the show that they didn’t want to go anymore, fortunately handing their ticket off to me.
Our group arrived, made our way into the enormous crowd, and settled into the calm before the storm, eventually rolling into a massive roar after the boys appeared from behind the curtains. There was so much for me to take in during their performance, and I’m pretty sure we all left that night drenched in sweat too. On June 29th, 2019, White Reaper treated its hometown crowd with another sold show. More sweat would certainly ensue.
The one-man band Buddy Crime kicked the night off with a unique touch of dance music. Now, those who weren’t there may think “dance music…opening for White Reaper?” but only those who witnessed this set could understand the greatness of Buddy Crime.
It was hard for me not to pay attention to Buddy Crime with his orange suit and constant communication with the crowd, especially when Buddy started off his set by jumping over the railing and running a lap through the crowd back to the stage. From standing on the rail, crowd surfing, playing his guitar right at the front row of people – you name it, odds are Buddy Crime did something at least once every song. I’m also not exactly sure how Buddy Crime didn’t get worn out whatsoever during his set.
Buddy’s music is synth infused energy. My music editor suggested that I have a listen to some of the “electronic dance” hits of the 80s, and steered me to Herbie Hancock’s “Rock It” or Harold Falermeyer’s “Axel F”, and I can definitely hear/feel those vibes in Buddy Crime’s music. A throwback of sorts, but I’m pretty sure Herbie Hancock wasn’t dancing around like a madman on stage during performances.
Then came Twen, a perfect transition between Buddy Crime and White Reaper. Twen’s sound is akin to White Reaper’s, leaning more indie pop/rock compared to Buddy Crime’s dance inducing rowdiness.
Twen is a Nashville-based indie-rock band Jane Fitzsimmons (vocals) and Ian Jones (guitars). Their music tows the line between dream pop and psych rock, and was the perfect segue to allow the crowd to cool down and wipe the sweat from our brows that resulted from Buddy Crime’s antics.
II found myself drawn into Twen music because while their music makes you want to move, it’s counterbalanced by Jane’s inviting vocals, high pitched at times but mesmerizing when mixed with their fuzz-like vibe. They’ve almost got a The Smiths type vibe at times. With Jane’s fluent movement along to their music and seeing others listening as intently as I was, I eventually began to see their set as an overall pure form of art which we could all appreciate.
The main event was upon us – lights came down as White Reaper’s logo banner came up, followed by the band’s appearance one by one and quickly jumping into a fully charged performance of their “Make Me Wanna Die.”
Formed by singer/guitarist Tony Esposito and twin brothers Nick and Sam Wilkerson, White Reaper has been recording and releasing music since 2013. White Reaper’s last album (their second) was 2017’s The World’s Best American Band, an album that’s 10 tracks of unabashed, undeniable rockin’ fun. Odds are, you’ll end up singing along to one of the many catchy hooks that they’ve written into the choruses.
I quickly realized during their first song exactly what the best part about a White Reaper hometown show was: widespread chaotic harmony. The band stayed confined to the stage but clearly showed everyone how hyped they were, Sam holding up his bass and Tony walking to the edge as he smiled at the crowd, while the crowd wreaked absolute havoc as usual. I even decided to partake in on this chaotic harmony and joined my fellow crowd surfers with camera in hand. In the end, everyone came to let loose and have fun, but we all came together to support our hometown heroes in their passionate endeavor more than anything.
They just released their first new single in two years, “Might Be Right” on May 29, 2019, so I can only assume that a new album or EP is in the pipeline. I can’t wait to hear it.